The Mobile City Council approved three amendments to the city code at its meeting on Tuesday, one of which will now allow grocery stores and wine shops to hold wine and beer tastings.

The original ordinance prohibited minors from being anywhere licensed for the on-premise sale of alcohol that didn’t include a full kitchen. The ordinance, therefore, prohibited grocery stores and wine shops from obtaining an on-premise alcohol license, which is needed to host wine and beer tasting events.

The amendment, sponsored by Council President Gina Gregory and Councilman Joel Daves, would exempt grocery stores and wine shops from the provision, council attorney Jim Rossler said. The amendment would also restrict stores to hold these activities for a maximum of two and a half hours, Rossler said.

Any store interested in obtaining a license for on-premise consumption of alcohol would still need the council’s approval to do so, Rossler told councilors. He added that the stores must also be in compliance with all the rules of the Alabama Beverage Control board.

The council also amended the rules for its Board of Electrical Examiners to change terms for members from four years to two and to make it clear the council is the sole appointing and approving authority for all of the members.

Councilman John Williams told councilors during a pre-conference meeting that over the past 20 years there has been an understanding that the associations tasked with suggesting nominees to councilors have simply asked for those candidates to be approved.

“This makes it clear that no one tells us who to appoint,” Williams said.

The council also amended an ordinance pertaining to the renaming of streets. The amended ordinance requires a petition be signed by 90 percent or more of the residents on the street in question. The petition will then be placed on the council agenda for a vote and written notice will be given to the mayor’s office and nine other departments.

In other business, the council voted to authorize a $163,349.54 contract with C&H Construction Services for repairs to guardrails throughout the city.

The council also approved allowing the Mobile Police Department to apply for two grants from the U.S. Department of Justice, each in the amount of $175,000. One would allow access to nationwide ballistics reports and the other would assist the department in its hot spot policing campaign.
The council also voted to appoint John T. Burroughs to the Board of Adjustment.

Mayor Sandy Stimpson announced that Anne Powell, in the telecommunications department, was the city’s employee of the month. Starting Tuesday and working retroactively, Stimpson said employees of the month will receive a $500 bonus. Stimpson also gave a $500 bonus to Stephanie Armstrong, the MPD officer of the month. During the month of February, Armstrong 55 calls and was back up on 53 more. She made three felony arrests.