Branson Alderman Move Forward on Proposed Liquor Laws, Tax Increment for Grand Palace Site

by: Chrystal Blair, Ozarks First

City leaders in Branson have moved one step closer to changing the rules on alcohol consumption.

The issue was taken up at Tuesday night’s Board of Alderman meeting.

After hearing from some Branson area residents and alderman — a vote was taken and decided in favor of open carry alcohol in restricted areas.

Under the regulation, if passed, entertainment districts would receive a special license to sell liquor by the drink — and there would be specific zoned areas and possibly designated times when people would be allowed to openly carry and consume alcoholic beverages.

The Board of Alderman would be the authority of the guidelines and ordinances. Two voted against and four voted in favor of the new rules.

“I think there are productive tax payers – good moral folks that want to enjoy a beer and walk down the landing – and so I will be voting for it, I think the positive certainly out weighs it,” said Alderman Kevin McConnell.

“Community Plan 2030..embraces the family values was the most important thing and that we support the Ozark Mountain legacy which definitely would not want us to be the forefront of trying to change liquor laws statewide,” Alderman Cris Bohinc said. “and so I’ve really tried to work on it since I heard about it last week and so I personally will have to vote no.”

As one might expect, when the floor opened for public comments, opinions on the issue varied.

“I understand that there are events that come for conferences and conventions that might want to have something outside, which was mentioned in the articles,” said Taney County Assessor, Chuck Pennel, “But, the idea of having open drinks in our Landing and other places I assume it says. I just wonder how our visitors are going to look at that.”

“I come up to speak in favor of this,” Branson Realtor, Bob Hules said.

“There’s plenty of people out there that will have a beer at there meal – and not beat the heck out of their children or not misuse, or mistreat their children and let them run around and do things wrong,” said Hules.

The next step for the new proposed liquor regulation, is to go to the state for approval, or disapproval.

Also, another big issue that was given the nod to move forward — the Grand Palace site, becoming the location for a 46-thousand square foot aquarium.

This is a proposed tax increment financed project — and the alderman voted unanimously to move forward on it.