MANTI—The Sanpete County Commission took steps last week to ban alcohol on the Sanpete County Fairgrounds, even on a one-time basis.
At a meeting Tuesday, March 1, commissioners passed a motion to “curtail alcohol on county property” and to send a letter to Manti City, the local authority with jurisdiction over the fairgrounds, asking the city not to issue any special event permits for alcohol sales.
Commission Chairman Scott Bartholomew said he had talked to a Juab County commissioner, who told him his county had permitted beer sales on its fairgrounds for an Extreme Bull Riding event.
“Once was enough,” Bartholomew said. “They immediately put ordinances in place to prohibit it.”
The commission chairman said the county is trying to increase use of the fairgrounds but wants events to be family-oriented.
Colter Lund, an intern in the Sanpete County Attorney’s Office, told commissioners that state law says an operation selling alcohol must be 200 feet away, point to point in a direct line, from the fence line of a school.
The walking distance from where alcohol is sold must be 600 feet from a school, which is about a block, he said.
There are two permits an alcohol vendor can apply for, Lund said. One is a restaurant permit. It requires the point of sale to be 200 feet away, point to point, or 300 feet walking distance, not just from a school, but from any park or public facility.
The fairgrounds are near Manti High School, the Manti swimming pool, and the Manti Sports Park. “There’s a very small area [of the fairgrounds] under that license where they [maybe] could [sell alcohol],” Lund said, “but it’s unlikely.”
He said the other option under state law is for the local authority to issue a permit for alcohol sales at a specific event. Event permits do not have the same proximity requirements as restaurant licenses.
Commissioners agreed that banning sales does not necessarily ban people from bringing their own alcohol to the fairgrounds.
Following the vote on Hatch’s motion, Commissioner Scott Bartholomew said he expected the commission to take up an ordinance later permanently banning not only sales but people bringing their own alcohol.
Commissioners made clear that such an ordinance would apply to all county property, including not just the fairgrounds, but the courthouse, Sheriff’s Complex and other county sites.