The city of Sherwood is considering the passage of an ordinance that would allow restaurants holding on-premises alcohol consumption permits to remain open until 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday.
On May 28, the council conducted a first reading that would allow the later operating hours. However, as the ordinance currently reads, these businesses would only be allowed to sell alcohol on Sunday from 10 a.m. to midnight.
The issue is expected to be brought up again when the council meets on Monday, June 24.
Kelly Coughlin, Sherwood’s economic development director, said the city is in the running for a higher-end restaurant locating here.
Coughlin said the unnamed company is considering either North Little Rock or Sherwood. North Little Rock currently has an advantage because its city ordinances allow restaurants to sell alcohol until 2 a.m.
In Sherwood, current city law allows restaurants to sell alcohol until 1 a.m. Monday through Friday and midnight on Saturday.
City Alderman Charles Harmon said restaurants located along Highway 67-167 at the North Little Rock-Sherwood border are in competition for patrons.
The later hours for North Little Rock gives that city an advantage over Sherwood in trying to attract new businesses.
Both Coughlin and Harmon said allowing restaurants the option to sell liquor longer provides Sherwood with a better opportunity to increase its tax base.
"Restaurants provide a lot of tax revenue to the city," Harmon said.
Harmon said restaurant sales generate sales taxes as well as the city’s two-percent Advertising and Promotions tax, which is more commonly known as the hamburger tax.
Coughlin said allowing restaurants to sell alcohol longer doesn’t mean all will do so.
In North Little Rock, there are only two restaurants that take advantage of the later hours.
Harmon said he believes a business request for this law change is a sign of Sherwood’s growth.
"We are going to be able to compete with cities like North Little Rock in attracting new businesses," Harmon said.
Alderman Marina Brooks, who chairs the city’s Advertising and Promotions Commission, said there might not be very many restaurants in Sherwood who take advantage of the later hours.
"We want them to be able to compete better with North Little Rock," Brooks said.