Lenexa allows beer and wine at four city parks, adjusts liquor laws to match new state law

Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park
Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park

Lenexa city leaders are now permitting beer and wine to be consumed during private events at four parks, in addition to the two already allowed in city code.

Drinking beer and wine is now permitted at these four parks: Ad Astra Park, Buffalo Meadows Park, Matt Taylor Park and Electric Park. On these properties, alcoholic liquor is permitted at private events if event organizers obtain a city-issued alcoholic liquor permit and rent a shelter for private use.

Steven Shrout with the city of Lenexa’s legal department, said the parks and recreation department has received more inquiries about drinking in public places, especially in parks for private events such as outdoor weddings. Recent changes in state law have added to the confusion, now that gas stations and grocery stores can sell stronger beer, he added.

Shrout said the new city code would reduce confusion for the general public regarding what is allowed and help reduce the complexity of enforcement.

“Allowing alcoholic liquor, specifically wine and beer, improves the ability of the city to enforce that without having people unknowingly violate the rules, or possibly knowingly,” Shrout said.

In general, Kansas state law prohibits the consumption of alcoholic liquor on public property, but cities can exempt specified city-owned property by ordinance. As such, the four parks are now added to the city’s list of other public properties where drinking alcohol is permitted, including Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park, Black Hoof Park, city hall, the Lenexa Public Market, Thompson Barn, the community and senior centers, and the Lenexa Commons.

Under the new city code, beer and wine is allowed at city parks, but spirits will remain prohibited.

The city also updated its code to match a new state law allowing places that serve alcohol to temporarily extend their licensed premises into the public right of way for events — provided the city council approves the extension. The approval process will be similar to approvals the council grants for temporary permits covering the public right-of-way.

The Lenexa council on Tuesday voted 6-0 to approve the city code changes. Councilmembers Andy Huckaba and Steve Lemons were absent.