Magnolia City Council considers repealing entertainment district

The City Council discusses the February agenda. (Joshua Turner / Banner-News)
The City Council discusses the February agenda. (Joshua Turner / Banner-News)

The Magnolia City Council voted on an ordinance to repeal the entertainment district on Monday.

The council chose to read the ordinance three times before unanimously voting for the repeal.

"This ordinance will take effect in 30 days. It's not an emergency. The entertainment district is dead", said Mayor Parnell Vann.

Jennifer Jameson McKendree said, "My understanding is this will essentially make (the court order) moot to the case. A notice will be given to the judge that informs him that the ordinance has been repealed."

Mike Seabaugh pastor at Central Baptist Church and a member of Magnolia Votes said, " I am pleased at the repeal. As citizens, we don't want to spend our time fighting. We'd like to be working together with our city government. I hope that with this chapter over, we can get back to everybody working together and making this a great place to live."

The council voted on Feb. 20 to not appeal Judge Spencer Singleton's order to send the entertainment district to an election.

The entertainment district ordinance allows businesses with a license to serve alcohol to patrons in a regulated cup, which may be carried throughout the district -- including onto downtown city streets -- and into any businesses participating in the district.

The Magnolia City Council in May voted 5-3 to establish an entertainment district in the city.

Ballot initiative group Magnolia Votes submitted a petition for the ordinance to be voted on by Magnolia residents, but the petition was considered insufficient by City Attorney Jennifer Jameson McKendree for not containing an exact copy of the original ordinance.

Magnolia Votes submitted an amended version of the petition in July, which was not filed as McKendree believed it would be considered void under state law. Magnolia Votes hired a lawyer and filed a suit against the city.

The suit asked that the courts declare the original ordinance constitutionally too vague on the boundaries of the entertainment district and require the city to accept the amended petition.

Singleton denied the request to consider the original map invalid but ruled that the city accept the Magnolia Votes amendment to their petition.

Reporters reached out to Singleton's office to ask how this would affect his ruling but did not receive a response by press time on Wednesday.

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