The Park Rapids City Council approved the first reading of two city code amendments May 14 with new language allowing brewer taprooms to be licensed.

Requesting the ordinance change were Dylon and Katie Deschene, who are interested in starting a brewpub with growler off-sales at 201 Main Ave. S., the former location of Molly Poppins Gourmet Snacks.

"The ordinance that they requested would obviously apply to the entire city," said City Planner Andrew Mack, "so it's not just serving their needs, but it is a specific requirement for them in order to open the business in the community that they are pursuing at this time."

Mack noted that the taproom issue is one of the priorities the city council set for ordinance updates at their joint work session April 9 with the city planning commission. He said the ordinance was drafted based on what other communities have in place and was "extensively reviewed" by himself and the city attorney.

The first proposed amendment affects Chapter 91 (Alcoholic Beverages) of the city code mainly by:

• Adding definitions of the terms alcoholic beverage, brewer, brewer taproom, growler, intoxicating liquor, malt liquor, small brewer and wholesaler to the ordinance.

• Adding brewer taproom on-sale licenses and brewer taproom and small brewer off-sale licenses to the list of kinds of beer licenses.

• Adding growlers to the description of off-sale licenses.

• Adding sections about brewer taproom on-sale licenses and off-sale brewer taproom malt liquor licenses.

• Allowing brewer taprooms to be open for on-sale business on Sundays, and may sell off-sale growlers from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays, provided they have a Sunday license for each type of sale.

• Adding an exception for small brewers and brewer taprooms to the prohibition against off-sale licenses in a city that operates a municipal liquor store.

Council member Erika Randall moved to approve the first reading of the first amended ordinance. The motion passed without dissent.

The second proposed amendment affects Chapter 36 (Fee Schedule), mainly by:

• Adding annual fees of $300 for on-sale brewer taproom licenses, $240 for off-sale brewer taproom licenses, and $200 for Sunday brewer taproom licenses under the section titled "Beer Fees."

• Changing the annual fee for a Sunday liquor license from $250 to $200 under the heading "Liquor Fees."

For comparison, the annual fee is $150 for an on-sale beer license, $50 for an off-sale beer license, $1,800 for an on-sale liquor license, and $250 for an on-sale wine license. The fee schedule also includes a $300 administrative fee for each new application.

Council member Bob Wills moved approval of the first reading of the second code amendment. The motion passed unopposed.