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Lakeside Tackle given OK to sell live bait

The Demopolis board of adjustments approved Lakeside Tackle Box to sell live bait.

The board approved a special exception for the business located at 700 N. Walnut Ave. because it was not in a zone that allows the sale of live bait.

The action took place at a special called meeting of the board Thursday night.

City building official Junior Brooker explained to the board that Lakeside is in a B-3 zone that does not allow the sale of live bait, and that the Demopolis City Council had approved at its last meeting the sale of live bait in a B-3 zone by special exception given by the board of adjustments.

Before the board of adjustments vote was taken, board member Robert Shepherd asked Lakeside representative Julie McKinney if Lakeside was already selling live bait, as he had heard that it was.

McKinney said that she had been encouraged to sell live bait by former mayor Cecil P. Williamson, despite being out of compliance.

“When we applied for this, Mayor Williamson had told me that she felt like (the approval to sell) was going to pass,” McKinney said, “and that this was something that the city of Demopolis wanted. She said that we could go ahead and sell bait, and that, if anyone complains, that Mr. Brooker would have to come and close it down, and we’d be fine.”

Brooker said he did advise Lakeside that it was out of compliance.

“But I work directly under the mayor,” he said. “I don’t have any enforcement authority. This is to make it legal, so she will not be illegally selling it.”

Brooker said that Lakeside’s license is listed under “gross receipts,” that anything she sells was included in the receipts for the upcoming year when Lakeside renews its license.

“Gross sales will determine what she pays for her license for the coming year,” he said.

“It appears to me that there was a misinterpretation by the CEO of the city on the ordinance relative to this matter,” Shepherd said, “to perhaps unilaterally say, ‘You can sell.’

“Now, it comes back to the adjustment board, even though the council has amended it for us to make the ultimate decision about this matter.”

Shepherd said that he may vote for the measure, but would do so under protest because the business continued to sell live bait after being told that it was out of compliance.

The vote passed 5-0. Board member Drew Johnson was absent.

“There were mixed messages sent out from one branch of the government,” said mayor Mike Grayson. “I can see where it would be confusing to a retailer.”

The next scheduled meeting of the Demopolis board of adjustments will be on Tuesday, Jan. 6, at 5:15 p.m. at Rooster Hall.