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City council to consider formalizing alcohol policy for Colonial Arts Center at Jan. 4 meeting

BUCKHANNON – Buckhannon City Council agreed to establish an official policy for serving alcohol at the Colonial Arts Center during their next meeting.

Colonial Arts Center Board President John Waltz attended the Dec. 21 City Council meeting to ask council to vote on an official policy regarding the serving of beer and wine after council voted to grant the CAC board permission to serve alcohol on a trial basis for two events.

Those events included a murder mystery dinner theatre Oct. 13-14, “Death by Dessert” – a collaboration between the CAC Board, the Buckhannon Community Theatre and the Buckhannon-Upshur Chamber of Commerce – and the CAC’s Oct. 21 grand opening.

“I wanted to update everyone on how those events went; they were the murder mystery event as well as the grand opening event,” Waltz said. “I can say both went off without incident, and I think they were very successful for the vendor.”

“We had two very interested third-party vendors, and I believe the Whistlestop was the one that worked both events,” he added.

Waltz said events offering alcohol would probably be rare, but the board anticipates certain events would benefit from the option.

“We asked to do that on a trial basis, and that trial has occurred, so we wanted to at least ask council for the ability to continue to pursue those, when possible, of course, with all the other legal requirements that need to happen for those kinds of things,” Waltz said.

Mayor Robbie Skinner said city council could not take official action during the Dec. 21 meeting because it was not on the agenda, but the council could agree to vote on the topic at their next meeting.

“I think what would probably be appropriate, knowing it has gone well, and we don’t see any issues,” Skinner said. “We could probably get a head nod from the council saying we want to continue it, and we could place it on our January agenda just to formalize it in the minutes, but that [would] show we wish to continue that effort moving forward.”

On council’s Jan. 4, 2024, agenda, the item is listed for consideration as “Approval for the use of third-party vendor registered with the State of WV’s ABC Commission to serve alcohol during specific activities at the Colonial Arts Center.”

During the Dec. 21, 2023, meeting, Buckhannon City Recorder Randy Sanders said he doesn’t believe council should micromanage the CAC Board, so deciding which events will serve alcohol should be up to the board members.

Skinner agreed the CAC Board should make the decision.

“It will be at your discretion as to whether to have alcohol or not,” Skinner said. “What we’re doing is granting you the ability to do so moving forward in a more permanent way. It would not be every event; it would still be depending on the flavor of the event, the audience of the event and all those factors.”

Waltz said the board did not mind waiting until council’s January meeting because the CAC board does not meet again until February. 

“Currently, we don’t have any imminent programming where alcohol would be served, but we would like to know the steps moving forward,” Waltz said.

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