JENNINGS, LA (KPLC) - The Jennings City Council could be changing the city's liquor ordinances in an effort to allow restaurants to locate in more areas of the city.
The current zoning laws in Jennings only allow certain areas of the city to allow onsite alcohol consumption. These areas are primarily close to the interstate and away from schools and churches.
However, the proposed ordinance change would abolish the requirement that restaurants be at least 300 feet from a church, school, park, or library.
Terry Duhon, the mayor of Jennings, recognizes that a majority of the downtown district would not be able to serve alcohol under the current zoning requirements. Instead of changing the current zoning, he said the council is looking to change the ordinance and allow onsite consumption for all restaurants.
"What we're trying to do is not really re-invent the wheel because I think the wheel has already been invented," said Duhon. "We're just trying to help businesses and encourage businesses to have that ability to have onsite consumption at their restaurants."
Kirk Bertrand, an entrepreneur from Jennings, is renovating a restaurant in downtown Jennings and he is pushing for the ordinance change to take effect before his facility opens in January.
"We are not looking to have an open bar," said Bertrand. "But we do want to get the downtown area back up and we want to keep Jennings alive."
If the ordinance change did take effect, the restaurants would be required to supply a monthly audit of their total sales. Sixty percent of the sales at that facility must be non-alcohol beverages and food.
The proposed new ordinance went before the Jennings City Council on Tuesday night.
Residents will have 30 days to voice their concerns to the council before the ordinance goes in to effect.