After sometimes heated statements by residents during a long public comment period, the Canton City Council voted 5-1 to override Mayor Gene Hobgood’s veto of an ordinance creating a downtown restaurant district where alcoholic beverages could be consumed outdoors.
Before the vote, Hobgood reiterated his objections that the measure was rushed through in a process “(that) lacked openness and transparency.”
The mayor restated his concerns about the lack of public restrooms downtown, no provisions for an increased police presence, and the inability to control off-premises drinking. He also lamented some residents being “disrespectful and even threatening to council members” over the issue.
“Is it asking too much to start this process over?” Hobgood asked.
The ordinance allows outdoor drinking in the district from 5 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays for one year starting Oct. 1. Establishments in the district would be allowed to serve alcoholic drinks in plastic cups of up to 16 ounces, marked with the date, for removal from the premises.