When the ACM@UCO music institution opened in Bricktown, the state law that restricts the Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission from issuing mixed-beverage licenses to bars situated within 300 feet of a school reared its head.
“I know that the last thing UCO wanted to do was cause a problem for business in Bricktown,” said Mark VanLandingham, vice president of government relations and policy at the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. “There were tenants ready to move into Bricktown and put new bars in, and the ABLE Commission said, 'We're sorry, but under the current law, we're unable to do that.'”
Authored by Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, Senate Bill 1218 would allow a college or university in a business improvement district, such as Bricktown, to waive that restriction.
“It amends the state law very, very narrowly,” VanLandingham said.
The bill would not amend the state law as it pertains to churches or elementary, middle, junior high and high schools.
The Senate committee for business and commerce passed the committee substitute for SB 1218 on Feb. 16 by a vote of 7-0; its next stop is the full Senate.
“The Legislature hardly ever passes anything unanimously, and there will be, without a doubt, some people who will make the argument that this is allowing more access to liquor,” VanLandingham said. “But we think we can show that this is so narrow, and the continued development of Bricktown ought to be what's most important to everybody.”
Oklahoma City has seven business improvement districts: Arts District, Automobile Alley, Bricktown, Central Business District, Deep Deuce, Film District and Park Plaza.
Photo by Mark Hancock