By Traci Chapman
Voter-mandated changes to alcohol sales and allowing medical marijuana meant a host of changes to Mustang ordinances – changes approved by city council members who cited the need for a proactive stance on issues before they go into effect.
Alcohol Sale Changes
Effective Oct. 1, grocery and convenience stores, pharmacies and liquor stores will see major changes in what they are allowed to sell. As those retailers prepare for allowances never seen before, Mustang officials said it was important to make sure city code properly addressed the issue in order to preserve Mustang zoning and long-range plans, as well as conform with state statutes.
“We already have one applicant under the new law, so we believed it was important to get this in front of you now,” said Melissa Helsel, Mustang community development director.
Helsel and City Attorney Jonathan Miller worked on new ordinances; under the new law approved by voters, liquor stores can now sell refrigerated beer, ice and mixers, while grocery and convenience stores and pharmacies can offer wine and high point beer.
Under the new ordinance adopted by council Sept. 4, establishments selling alcohol must be located more than 300 feet from any “public or private school or church property primarily and regularly used for worship services and religious activities.”
That provision does not pertain to restaurants serving liquor for consumption on-site.
Anyone violating the new requirements could face up to $500 in fines and 60 days in jail; the ordinance also includes regulations pertaining to sale of alcohol to minors and penalties for youth misrepresenting their age in order to procure alcoholic beverages.
“What we’ve come up with is very close to the state law and addresses everything to do with this – fees, zoning, penalties, social host aspects and sales,” Helsel said.
Medical Marijuana Ordinance Provides Guidelines
Despite an extended discussion and some council members expressing displeasure with the concept itself, the board approved an ordinance governing medical marijuana in Mustang.
Designed as an all-encompassing answer to questions ranging from zoning to licensing and more, the ordinance passed Sept. 4 by council addresses medical marijuana’s use, retailers’ responsibilities and regulations pertaining to processors, commercial growers and those transporting it in the city – all of which was approved by voters earlier this year.
“As we did with alcohol changes, this ordinance brings the city of Mustang code up to date and in line with the new state statutes, and we stayed very close to the state’s new statutes,” Miller said.
Mustang ordinances do not allow medical marijuana retailers within 1,000 feet of private or public schools, libraries, museums, public playgrounds, parks, pools or recreation facilities or halfway houses, correctional facilities or rehabilitation or treatment centers.
Other requirements include:
• Retail and processor facility hours from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday;
• Operators’ premises to be closed Sundays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, July 4 and new year’s day;
• Commercial growing within enclosed structures and on properties that include limited access and a minimum 10-foot security fence that is locked at all times;
• Zoning restrictions – growers may locate in A-1 zoning district if a conditional use permit is approved and in C-2 through C-6 zoning districts, while retailers can apply forC-1 use and C-2 through C-6 use is “permitted by right.”
Not allowed was the “smell or noxious odor emitted from smoking or consumption of marijuana” – which would be considered a public nuisance – or consumption of those products on the retailers’ premises.
Medical marijuana is not allowed on or in any city property.
“This is not going to go away – we need to do our due diligence,” Mustang Mayor Jess Schweinberg said before the vote and in the face of some council members’ expressed reluctance to consider the matter. “The state’s decided, the voters have decided.”
Ultimately, six of seven council members voted in favor of the measures, based on the recommendations of Helsel, Miller and City Manager Tim Rooney; new Ward VCouncilman Travis McKenzie voted against the ordinance.
Mustang codes and ordinances can be found online at https://library.municode.com/ok/mustang/codes/code_of_ordinances.