(maryvilledailyforum.com) - A plea from Northwest Missouri State University President John Jasinski at Monday's City Council meeting derailed, at least temporarily, passage of a couple of ordinances that would have significantly changed the way local residents, including college students, are allowed to consume alcohol both in public and at social gatherings held on private property.
A third ordinance, setting forth ground rules for increased cooperation between Maryville Public Safety and the University Police Department, especially in neighborhoods adjoining the university, passed easily.
Together, the three ordinances make up the core of what city officials have called a "comprehensive" liquor consumption policy geared toward cutting down on alcohol-related offenses, binge drinking and "nuisance parties."
Jasinski told the council that he supports the city's efforts to promote responsible drinking. But he added that significant conceptions, or misconceptions, exist among students with regard to the possibility of overly tough enforcement of the proposed rules by police.
Essentially the ordinances, which had been scheduled for a vote at Monday's meeting, would have done two things: prohibited the consumption of alcohol on streets, sidewalks and other public rights-of-way without a permit, and created 12 "triggering behaviors" that would allow police to break up "nuisance parties." Most of those behaviors are already illegal.
Jasinski said more time is needed for city officials to meet with student leaders so that everyone can "understand the true intent" of the ordinances, and he asked the council for "a pause, a time out, and a slow-down" before proceeding.
Councilman Jeff Funston, who has pushed for both ordinances, agreed that perhaps more discussion is needed, and said after the meeting that he had received several constituent calls expressing concern that the new rules give police too much leeway with regard to enforcing alleged violations on private property.
"We want to avoid bad outcomes, and I have some questions," said Funston, who added that the ordinances appeared to give "broad-range power to police that could be abused, though I'm not saying it would be."
In the end, the council agreed to table both measures pending discussion with university students and others who may have concerns.