Lander Council allows businesses to begin selling alcohol at 10 a.m. on Sundays

Community Resource Coordinator Gary Michaud addressed the council Tuesday night during a public hearing. (Joshua Scheer photo)

Community Resource Coordinator Gary Michaud addressed the council Tuesday night during a public hearing. (Joshua Scheer photo)

By Joshua Scheer, reporter,

(Lander, Wyo.) – The Lander City Council approved a change to Sunday liquor sales hours on Tuesday night. Now on Sundays, businesses selling alcohol may open at 10 a.m. and close as late as 10 p.m. The closing hour was not changed.

Prior to Tuesday’s third and final reading of the ordinance change, liquor establishments couldn’t open until noon on the first day of the week. Originally, the ordinance was proposed to change the hours to match state statutes, thereby allowing liquor sales from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. the next day. Those are the hours in Lander every other day of the week.

However, during the Feb. 19 work session it was brought to the council’s attention that no other municipality in the county opens at 6 a.m. on Sundays. (Read about last week’s discussion here.) Concerns were raise about Lander being the only place in the county open early before noon.

Initially Councilor Buddy Spriggs moved to table the discussion until there were more councilors available to join the discussion. Mayor Mick Wolfe and Councilors Dan Hahn and Cade Maestas were not in attendance. Councilor Dick Hudson seconded the motion, which failed 2-2. Both Council President Nancy Webber and Councilor Monte Richardson wanted to go ahead with the final vote.

Lander Police Chief Jim Carey said he is changing his stance on the ordinance based on learning that Riverton didn’t allow early morning openings. He said he wasn’t sure where that assumption came from, but  he said he would take some of the responsibility for not finding out sooner. Hudson said it was believed if Lander stores opened at 6 a.m. it could become “a magnate” for those who abuse alcohol.

Webber proposed a compromise to allow businesses to open at 10 a.m. instead. Originally, the idea to change the hours came from a local business wanting to be able to serve breakfast cocktails.

Carey said he and his constituents, other law enforcement, would be OK with the compromise.

Mr. D’s owner Michelle Motherway said she and other business owners were talking in the audience and were satisfied with the compromise.

“I don’t think this is going to hurt us at all,” Richardson said, noting it could bring in more revenue for businesses and therefore more tax revenue for the city.

Webber said another reason the change was originally considered included people wanting to stock up before heading out to camp or fish in the summer. She said that those people will still have to plan ahead with this compromise.

The compromise to start at 10 a.m. instead of 6 a.m. passed unanimously among the four present councilors.

Other city news:

-An ordinance changing large equipment parking regulations along city streets was tabled after an apparent misunderstanding of what was passed on second reading.

-Community Resource Coordinator Gary Michaud gave a recap of the community center plans for a public hearing regarding loan and grant applications totaling $650,000. No members of the public had any comments. The applications were approved unanimously. The loan is for $150,000. Both applications are to the Business Ready Community Grant and Loan Program.