Brittney Lofthouse – Staff Writer
Franklin’s Town Council will hear from the public on Monday, Oct. 2 regarding whether or not to amend a town ordinance to allow alcohol to be served before noon on Sundays.
The North Carolina Senate passed Senate Bill 155 also known as the “Brunch Bill” on June 29, making North Carolina the 47th state to allow alcohol service before noon on Sundays. The state’s legislative change wasn’t immediate and while the state allows it, the state also said that it was up to local governments to decide what is best for their respective communities.
In the weeks that followed the legislation becoming law, counties across the state began to take up the issue. Some, like Waynesville, had their board vote on the matter during a regular board meeting. Others, like Franklin and Sylva, plan to hold a meeting to solicit public comment on the issue before deciding one way or the other, while some cities, like Bryson City, voted on the issue without asking the public for input, or don’t plan to vote on it at all.
During the September board meeting, Council Member Adam Kimsey asked the board to consider discussing the issue because he had been approached by business owners who would like to see the change enacted.
If Franklin was to approve the ordinance amendment, the town would be the sixth city in Western North Carolina to do so, following Highlands, Asheville, Hendersonville, Mills River, and Waynesville. Bryson City voted “no” earlier this month and is the only city to vote against the measure of the municipalities who have considered it.
Maggie Valley and Sylva both plan to hold a public hearing before voting. Jackson County will also take up the issue in October, as the Cashiers community has asked for a decision to be made for unincorporated towns in Jackson County such as Dillsboro, Cashiers and Forest Hills, all of which would need county approval to adopt the practice. Canton has begun discussions, but has not voted for or against the measure as of press time. They plan to hold a public hearing in October.
The Franklin Town Council meeting will be held on Monday, Oct. 2, in the town hall board room beginning at 7 p.m. The public hearing is schedule for 7:05 p.m.