Harlem officials on Monday approved an amendment to the city's alcohol ordinance that will allow a bed-and-breakfast to serve alcohol.
The amendment, approved at the monthly city council meeting, changes the way officials measure distances, which would allow Red Oak Manor's Acorn restaurant to qualify to apply for an alcohol license. The restaurant must be at least 100 yards away from churches, city parks, playgrounds and alcohol-treatment facilities, and 200 yards from a school.
In the original ordinance, distances were measured from the front door of an establishment that sells alcohol to the nearest property line to be avoided. The restaurant didn't qualify although a home sits between the restaurant and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on North Louisville Street. The back of the church property loops around and touches the rear of the bed-and-breakfast property.
The new amendment allows distances to be measured from the front door of the establishment along the most direct route, usually a sidewalk or the street curb, to the front door of the church.
Also at the meeting, city officials announced the formation of a committee to assist the U.S. Census Bureau in conducting the 2010 census.
"It is definitely a benefit to Harlem to be active in this after the last one," City Councilman John Thigpen said. "The last one hurt us bad."
City Manager Jean Dove said some flubs in the 2000 census led to an inaccurate population number. The post office would deliver only to post office boxes inside the city, so all census forms sent to street addresses were sent back, she said. City officials received only 25 forms in English to pass out to residents, and a temporary census center provided only forms written in Spanish.
Census workers did canvass some of the city, but listed the population at 1,814, a drop from the 2,199 reported in 1990. City officials estimated the population actually was about 2,500 people, Dove said.
The city was penalized for many years, missing out on funding in the past decade because of the mistake, Mayor Bobby Culpepper said
Local option sales tax and the special purpose local option sales tax funds are distributed based on Harlem's population as a percentage of Columbia County's. Also, Dove said, an annual fee charged to insurance salespeople is based on population and dropped from $40 to $25 after the 2000 census.
Dove said the committee will hold a kickoff event along with an Aug. 1 music festival put on by the Harlem Merchants Association.
The census count ends in 2010.
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