A public hearing in Irving on Monday evening could lead to changes in the city's decades-old alcohol ordinance.
The current ordinance sets a ratio of 60/40 for food/alcoholic beverage sales at restaurants throughout the city. The Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce and area businesses are asking for the Zoning and Planning Commission to reverse that ratio or make it even more favorable for alcohol sales.
"It hasn't kept up with the times, and it needs to be more reflective, or current economic circumstances that are forcing the hand," said Brian James, managing partner at Champps Americana in Irving.
James said restaurant trends have changed since the original ordinance was issued decades ago.
"People are drinking less better. So what it means is, people are getting more educated about not only beer but wine, and whiskeys and alcohol," he said, adding that those premium beverages cost a lot more. "People right now, they buy a beer that costs $6 and a hamburger that costs $8. The math becomes pretty simple."
The Chamber's President and CEO Chris Wallace said the ordinance has become a challenge when trying to bring more high-end restaurants for developments such as the Water Street project.
"We could do a much better job in recruiting businesses to Irving and to retain existing businesses if we could change this ordinance," he said.
But not everyone is a fan of changing the ordinance. Neal Dacus, a longtime Irving resident, said revising the ordinance's ratio to favor alcohol sales sends the wrong message to the community.
"We want our children to be able to have the right influence, and we want to give them the right perimeters to live by," he said.
The Planning and Zoning Commission's decision on Monday night will be taken to the City Council. The council members will make a decision at a later date.