Wellington Council Finalizes Change To Alcohol Purchase Rules

The Wellington Village Council with the Polo Park Cyberstallions.

The Wellington Village Council held three public hearings before unanimously finalizing three new ordinances on its agenda Tuesday, March 10. The three items passed unanimously without public comment.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the council enjoyed student presentations by the Polo Park Middle School Cyberstallions and the Elbridge Gale Elementary School First Lego League Robotics Team.

The first ordinance to be reviewed and approved involved the sale of alcoholic beverages in Wellington, which simplifies the rules and allows the purchase of alcohol before noon on Sunday.

The previous rules treated restaurants and stores selling alcohol differently. The new ordinance simplifies it into a single set of rules. The sale of alcohol is now permitted except for between the hours of 3 and 7 a.m., seven days a week.

Prior to this approval, Wellington was different from its surrounding neighbors, meaning stores in other jurisdictions could sell liquor earlier in the day than Wellington could, specifically on Sundays. As this could put Wellington businesses at a financial disadvantage in competition with competitors, the change evens the playing field a bit, though not entirely.

“It’s not even as liberal as some of the communities around us,” said Bob Basehart, Wellington’s director of sustainability and regulatory affairs.

A motion to approve the change passed unanimously.

Wellington’s Planning, Zoning & Building Director Tim Stillings presented the next two ordinances to the council, both of which were designed to streamline Wellington’s business practices.

The first eliminates the requirement that a business receipt be signed by a village official. These types of receipts can now be issued electronically without the necessity of a signature. Since Wellington now does much of its business online, this change brings the village’s formal rules into the modern era.

The second item presented by Stillings gives staff the power to adjust future recreation impact fees, based on census data, without having to go through the council for approval each year.

“We have a parks and recreation impact fee, which is a certain dollar amount per person, per household,” Stillings explained. “The code right now says one number; all we do is change that to say that it would be whatever the newly reported annual number is.”

Both of the items presented by Stillings passed unanimously.

The council also got a glimpse of the inner workings of Wellington schools — specifically, Polo Park Middle School and Elbridge Gale Elementary School.

David Grad, the STEM/digital art and design teacher at Polo Park, presented his Cyberstallions, a group of 30 middle schoolers who strive to build robots and competition skills, not to mention friendships along the way.

“I can’t say enough about how impressive these kids are,” Wellington Mayor Anne Gerwig said after listening to the students explain the work they do.

Likewise, the Elbridge Gale First Lego League Robotics Team received some praise as the council watched a video of the young students’ recent project — creating a prototypical town. They were recently honored with an invitation to the league’s world championships.

“You all are amazing, and I want to live in your town!” Councilwoman Tanya Siskind said. “It’s just beautiful, and every aspect of it was well-thought-out and planned.”

There was a brief silence when Siskind asked if there was a name for the town, but the tension broke when the voice of team member Andrea Nicole Lares broke across the mic to say, “Gatorville.”