Pierson town hall
Pierson Town Hall

The Town of Pierson’s Sunday prohibition of beer, wine and liquor may soon be a thing of the past. Signaling intent to overturn a long-standing rule, the Pierson Town Council directed Town Attorney Christian Waugh to draft an ordinance allowing for the sale of alcohol within the town’s limits.

Pierson is the only community in West Volusia to have alcohol prohibitions on the day of the Christian Sabbath, and rules regulating alcohol sales on Sundays have been on the books since at least 1948.

Discussion about changing the rule began at the May 24 Town Council meeting following a recommendation from the town’s Planning Commission.

Some members of the public encouraged the Town Council to allow alcohol sales on Sundays, including Pierson business owner Mohammad Hasan.

Hasan, a real estate agent, argued that not allowing alcohol sales on Sundays was harming the town’s potential for growth. If the town wants to grow, he said, town leaders may have to move beyond 20th century rules.

Plus, Hasan said, people may “want something to relax” before starting a long workweek.

Others pointed out that alcohol is sold on Sundays in neighboring Crescent City and DeLand, so it may be time for Pierson to follow suit.

“It’s time to break the shackles we’ve been under for many years,” Planning Commission Member Paul Martel said at the Town Council meeting, later adding, “I think it’s only fair that the citizens who live here, work here, have the ability to purchase whatever beverage they may want.”

Not everyone was in favor of changing the rules. One resident said the dry Sundays were one of the town’s appeals, and Mayor Samuel G.S. Bennett said he would respect any board decision made, but would not vote in favor of changing the rules.

The Town Council ultimately voted 3-1, with Town Council Members Sergia Cardenas, Robert F. Greenlund and D. Gray Leonhard in favor of tasking the town attorney with drafting an ordinance. Bennett was the lone dissenting vote.

The normally five-person Town Council was down to four members due to the recent death of Town Council Member Tom Larrivee. His seat will remain open until after the election in November.

The Town Council hasn’t made a decision on alcohol sales yet. First, the town attorney will draft an ordinance, and then it will have to be approved by a majority of the Town Council on first and second reading to go into effect.

The exact details of the ordinance are not known yet, but Town Council members recommended allowing alcohol sales after 12:01 p.m. on Sundays. The time was recommended by Planning Commission Member Linnie Richardson, who said it would be courteous to churches.

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