The city council met Monday night to discuss revisions to the city’s alcohol ordinance. The council also discussed purchasing the ROC from Central Baptist.

CRESTVIEW — The City Council met Monday night to discuss revisions to the city’s ordinance on alcohol sales and the possible purchase of Central Baptist’s Recreation Outreach Center (ROC).

Revisions to the alcohol ordinance include maintaining a 500-foot buffer between churches or schools and bars and breweries. Restaurants, which receive most of their sales from food, are exempt from the revision.

"We want to maintain the character of Crestview and also I think it’s smart planning," city manager Tim Bolduc said. "It’s a sound, legal way to drive the type of development that we do get. I’m not interested in lining bars all up and down Crestview."

City staff also changed and removed some language in the ordinance. The removed language was illegal and unconstitutional, they said, and removing it helped clarify some definitions within the ordinance.

For example, staff revised the meaning of school in the ordinance to mean a "public or private elementary school, middle school, or secondary school" including private schools. This change allows for more opportunities for growth, according to Bolduc.

"In the previous ordinance, you could put a daycare in and stop a restaurant or bar from going in," Bolduc said. "We backed that off to be a legitimate school recognized by the state of Florida."

The third element of change within the ordinance dealt with the exemption in the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) district. In order to have an opportunity to bring in more restaurants to the downtown area, city staff expanded the CRA area that would be exempt from the 500-foot buffer.

"It opens a lot of vacant buildings," Bolduc said. "It gives us an opportunity to create more of a night life down there but we’re trying to walk a tightrope in the type of nightlife we create."

The council approved the ordinance on first reading and now moves to second reading where it will be officially adopted. Bolduc said the changes are good for the city.

"Mainly it’s just going to open the door for more businesses, specifically restaurant type businesses, even the smaller ones." Bolduc said. "It will provide alternatives and keep people from turning south everyday, as well as create more jobs."

In other business, the council decided to wait until Parks and Recreation strategic planning occurs in January to pursue the possible purchase of the ROC from Central Baptist.