By: Sharon Aron Baron
Think it’s fair when some people are obeying the law when others aren’t?
Businesses all over Tamarac have been obeying the archaic “Sunday blue law” which forbids the sale of liquor before noon on Sunday for 40 years now. Section 3.2 reads as follows:
Sec. 3-2. – Sunday sales.
Typically every businesses was adhering to this law except one: City owned Colony West Golf Club. Why are they any different?
That’s what we wanted to find out when a resident went to see if he could buy beer one Sunday morning. After being refused at both the Publix at Tamarac Town Center and the Marathon Gas at 6921 NW 88th Ave, he decided to see if he could order one at the Colony West Golf Club bar where he was not only served one, but two.
The person, who doesn’t want to be named, wrote to the City Manager Michael Cernech to find out why he couldn’t buy beer at a local store, yet could order one at a bar on Sunday morning. He never received a reply, so he contacted me. I, in turn, contacted the city attorney’s office to find out perhaps if Colony West had a special permit or override outside our ordinance.
I never heard back.
Finally after a week, I inquired with City Clerk Pat Teufel if Colony West Golf Club had special permission to serve alcohol outside of our Sunday blue laws.
I heard back from spokesperson Elise Boston who wrote, “Sharon, after receiving the inquiry we found that, indeed, the Billy Casper Golf staff was selling alcohol before noon on Sunday. That practice has stopped.”
Now the goal of this article isn’t to try to get any employee or management company in trouble at Colony West. Our point is to illustrate how archaic and unnecessary this ordinance is in our City.
Last November, when Coral Springs repealed their Sunday blue laws, Commissioner Dan Daley told the Sun Sentinel that he approved of the changes as a “football fan.”
“I think it’s an antiquated law and doesn’t make much sense in present day,” he said. “If I want to have folks over for a Sunday football game, what purpose is the law serving? Why inconvenience people unnecessarily?”
Vice Mayor Larry Vignola said the alcohol laws were old-fashioned, and the city received an increasing number of complaints from residents and businesses. The biggest problem: Super Bowl Sunday.
“People are just going to another city instead of buying [alcohol] in Coral Springs so we needed a change,” Vignola told the Sentinel. “There are a lot of laws that have been on the books for years and we need to change with the times. We want to provide a city our residents want.”
The good news is that the ordinance can be changed very easily by either the mayor by a commissioner. All they have to do is bring it up at a workshop or commission meeting and have a consensus to repeal it.
Not only did Coral Springs lift theirs last fall, so did Parkland. The Town of Davie decided to loosen restrictions on Sundays back in 2013. They changed the law so that grocery stores, convenient stores and gas stations could start selling alcohol at 7 a.m. Sundays.
Why can’t we?
Colony West needs to sell liquor on Sundays. In fact, they need to sell more of it because last year they lost over $700,000 according to our 2014 fiscal report. But the City needs to level the playing field for all the businesses and restaurants here in Tamarac. Let everyone sell liquor on Sunday mornings. Why should anyone have to dine or drive somewhere else?
Sunday blue laws are up to local governments to regulate, and if you are a believer of separation of church and state, then tell our elected officials that it’s time to repeal it.