NAMPA — The Nampa City Council has established a points-based system to enforce alcohol license violations following months of discussions about the city’s protocol for approving alcohol licenses.
The council on May 18 passed an ordinance that will establish the points system, to take effect May 26, according to City Attorney Douglas Waterman. Economic Development Director Beth Ineck said all businesses that hold an alcohol license will be subject to the ordinance, including restaurants.
Council members previously expressed that they wanted the city’s code on alcohol licenses to be more clear, Ineck said, prompting staff to review and revise the code to add clarity.
The biggest change to the code is the new points system. While Ineck said the specific violations listed in the ordinance were already established in city code, the Nampa Police Department and Idaho State Police were the main bodies in charge of enforcing the violations. The ordinance establishes a process the city can follow to allow the council to hold businesses accountable for significant offenses.
The ordinance lists 17 violations businesses can make, ranging from failure to undergo required trainings to sex crimes. The points assigned to each violation depends on the severity of the offense. Failing to complete required trainings receives one point, while committing a sex crime would receive 6.5 points — the maximum points assigned to a single violation.
Each reported violation will be reviewed by a committee, Ineck said. Depending on their findings, the committee may recommend to the council that a business’ alcohol license be revoked or not be renewed. If a business receives three points or more, its alcohol license renewal will be put in a public hearing, rather than added to the council’s consent agenda as most renewal requests are, Ineck said.
Alcohol licenses must be renewed once a year. Waterman said the points earned from a violation will remain on the license for the remainder of the current license year as well as for one subsequent year.
Ineck said she doesn’t expect points to be issued often to businesses. The main purpose of the ordinance, she said, is to increase transparency about the city’s process on alcohol licenses and hold businesses accountable.
“We want to have a safe and healthy community,” Ineck said.
The council has previously dealt with inconsistent decisions on granting an alcohol license waiver for businesses within 300 feet of a school or church. By state law, businesses that close to a church or school can’t serve alcohol without a waiver from the local governing body.
City staff also revised the portion of city code that addresses this rule in the new ordinance, but Ineck said it was mainly meant to more clearly mirror the state law.