The Tahlequah City Council recently amended some ordinances after countless meetings and a public hearing, and since several are still outdated, they might amend more in the coming month.
Concerns as to whether everyone was on the same page quickly caught the attention of newly elected Ward 4 City Councilor Trae Ratliff when he realized the issues with amending zoning ordinances were dragging on.
"It doesn't matter so much how long it takes. It only matters that we get it right," said Ratliff.
City Planning and Development Director Clinton Johnson revised what was a priority on the ordinances and brought the matter to the board during an Oct. 7 meeting.
A bed-and-breakfast was in an R-3 multiple-family district zone; the proposal was to move that to an R-2 two-family dwelling district zone, where "tourist court" was located. A tourist court is a dwelling other than a hotel/motel intended to be used as temporary sleeping facilities for no more than 20 people, and/or intended primarily to be used as a short-term or daily rental for compensation.
"Tourist court is the exact same definition as bed-and-breakfast, except for the fact that tourist court is C-2 and bed-and-breakfast is R-3," said Johnson.
Johnson said a bed-and-breakfast has to serve breakfast, so he has taken "tourist court" out of the picture. Essentially, bed-and-breakfast replaced tourist court and moved from an R-3 to an R-2.
"I've modified the definition of bed-and-breakfast to exclude the need to require serving of breakfast," he said. "It makes that definition a little more explanatory instead of trying to figure out what the heck a tourist court is."
The outdated definition of bed-and-breakfast was a dwelling other than a hotel/motel where, for compensation, logging and breakfast are provided for no more than 20 people. A dwelling that has accommodations for more than 20 people is defined as a "hotel/motel."
The new definition of bed-and-breakfast is a dwelling other than a hotel/motel where for compensation lodging is provided for no more than 20 people. A dwelling that has accommodations for more than 20 people is defined as a "hotel/motel."
A tourist home is defined as a dwelling occupied as a permanent residence by an owner or renter in which sleeping accommodations of not more than four rooms are provided or offered for transient guests for compensation.
A tourist home has been placed into R-1 single-family dwelling district, which is permanent, and can turn a residence into a short-term rental. Greenhouse and nursery were taken out of C-1 neighborhood commercial district and placed in I-1 restricted light industrial district.
The modifications of alcohol ordinances is the change of definition. Currently, the definition of an alcoholic beverage is "beverages controlled by the Oklahoma alcoholic beverage control board."
The proposed changes to the definition are to be defined as meaning "alcohol, spirits, beer and wine, as those terms are defined herein and also includes every liquid or solid, patented or not, containing alcohol, spirits, wine or beer and capable of being consumed as a beverage by human beings."
The definition of package store; a retail alcoholic beverage store would be eliminated. State licensee would also be taken out of the ordinances.
The occupation of "retailer beer and wine only" that is taxed at $450 and "on-premise beer and wine only" that is taxed at $450 are proposed to be added to the list of levied annual occupation tax.
The "expiration date; proration" could change from June 30 to Sept. 30 of each year.
While amendment toward alcoholic beverages, taxation, and regulation was on the City Council agenda for the Oct. 7 meeting, that item has been tabled until the next meeting, which hasn't been announced yet.
Several other regulations need work. For instance, loud music is often played downtown, although that is prohibited by Ordinance 10-315, as is amplified music. That ordinance also generally bans loudspeakers, except as used in political speaking from the bandstand downtown, religious service on the Capitol Square, and a few other cases. Permission must be gleaned before any "loud music" or "amplified sound" is permitted.
Although local law enforcement officials have said they'll follow Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter's advice, city ordinance also runs against the grain of the recent 10th Circuit Court ruling in terms of "obscene conduct." According to Ordinance 10-411, businesses may not have topless females, though topless males are acceptable.
And in light of the area's proliferation of medical marijuana, Ordinance 10-404, which prohibits narcotics, may not apply. That regulation includes marijuana.