State alcohol officials have halted Sunday beer sales in Cave Springs after the town accidentally broke state liquor laws by selling beer on Sundays, the city attorney says.
City leaders had mistakenly believed Sunday beer sales could be established by a city ordinance. Shortly after Benton County voters approved the sale of retail alcohol in the November 2012 elections, the city of Cave Springs passed an ordinance establishing Sunday alcohol sales at a local E-Z Mart, said city attorney Justin Eichmann.
The Arkansas Alcohol and Beverage Control administration initially approved the measure after it was then sent to the state about a year ago, when it should have rejected the new alcohol rule passed by the city, Eichmann said.
“It was just an oversight,” Eichmann said.
Although city officials believed they could allow Sunday alcohol via an ordinance, such measures must actually be passed by a public vote in an election, as cities such as Springdale and Tontitown have in recent years. For such an initiative to appear on a city ballot, petition signatures must be collected from 15 percent of the number of local residents who voted in the last governor’s election, state election rules stipulate.
Eichmann said he believes members of the town will consider collecting signatures to reinstate Sunday alcohol sales, although he is not aware of any considerations yet being made on that front.
Genoah Conner said she does not support Sunday alcohol sales.
"I don't think alcohol should be sold in a convenient store at all," she said. "There's too many kids that walk into convenient stores to buy candy and soda pop."
Bobby Jones said there's no issue with buying alcohol on Sundays, and said ending alcohol sales creates an inconvenience for some.
"On Sundays when football games are on, they will have to drive out of state or across county lines to get the beer," he said. "I just don't think that's right for them."
As for now, Sunday alcohol sales are suspended in Cave Springs, and the City Council is set to vote March 10 on a measure to amend the ordinance allowing Sunday sales.