High Springs moves to codify Sunday alcohol exception with special permit 

High Springs City Hall and sign
Photo by Seth Johnson

The High Springs City Commission decided Thursday to consider amending its ordinance on special event permits to allow the sale and use of alcohol on Sundays for businesses with only alcoholic beverage licenses. 

The city attorney said he understood what the commissioners were suggesting and would return at a future meeting with revised ordinance language. The commission could then ask for more changes or vote to accept the language—a process that would require two votes. 

The original ordinance on Thursday’s agenda would have changed the ordinance to allow the sale every Sunday, lifting the current exemption. The change would only impact businesses that get less than 51% of its revenue from the sale of food and non-alcoholic drinks—meaning businesses with alcoholic beverage licenses.  

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In High Springs, only the High Springs Brewery fits that category as restaurants already sell alcohol on Sundays because they primarily serve food or non-alcohol drinks.  

However, the commission decided not to approve that ordinance after extensive public comment and discussions about alternatives. Instead, the ordinance amendment that the attorney will draft will limit Sunday sales to holidays or other events, and the businesses with alcohol licenses would need to apply for a special permit to then sell on those days.   

Commissioner Andrew Miller pushed for this option. He said that the ordinance would codify what the city has already been doing for years. The city already approves special permits that allow the Sunday sale and use of alcohol. 

Miller said he’s unaware of issues cropping up from those events. So, the change will allow it to continue with a basis in city ordinances.  

Commissioner Tristan Grunder put forward a different motion that would place the issue on November’s election ballot. He said no better opportunity exists to let the public decide than on a ballot during a presidential election.  

“It’s such a hot topic,” Grunder said. “I have zero issues voting on anything else, but this thing right here, this is so divisive in this community that the citizens need to decide.”   

His motion failed to get a second. Commissioners also consider public surveys that would be cheaper than an election ballot but lack the same security, allowing the possibility of multiple votes per person and people voting from outside High Springs.  

The City Commission also approved the purchase of sewer lift station pumps and a sewer bypass pump.  

City Manager Jeremy Marshall said the pumps were badly needed and urged the commissioners to make the purchase despite financial constraints within the city. Marshall said the penalty fine for having a malfunction at a sewer lift station would be even worse for the budget. 

Thursday was Marshall’s first meeting as city manager. He was selected by the commission in March.  

The commissioners voted unanimously to allow a historical marker at Walter Howard Park, a request by the Alachua County Community Remembrance Project. The commission also approved a letter of support for Arc Hospice of Florida and the expansion of hospice care in rural communities.  

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Thank you, Seth, for the recap of the meeting.

Charles Courtney

Since we are passing laws that respect a religion, perhaps we should also ban the sale of alcohol from sundown Friday through daytime Saturday.


Who is responsible for auditing the other establishments that sell on Sunday that must reflect 51% of their business in food? Do they really continue to keep their kitchen open past 9pm?