It is legal for a person to park their car in the parking lot of Branson Landing, take a six pack of cold beer out of their cooler, pop the top on one, and drink it as they walk down the Landing's promenade, hopefully crowded with people, including families and children all having fun. Yet it would be illegal for that same person to park their car in downtown Branson, take a six pack of cold beer out of their cooler, pop the top on one, and drink it as they walked down Commercial Street, hopefully crowded with people, including families and children all having fun. The difference in the two results is the difference between public and private property.
With the appropriate permits, it is legal for vendors in Branson Theatres to sell cups of beer to be consumed in an area filled with people, including families and children, as they watch the show. With the appropriate permits, it is legal for vendors on the "public square" in Branson Landing to sell cups of beer which are to be consumed in an area filled with people, including families and children, as they listen to a band concert or watch a show being presented. In both instances, the beer is being served on private property legally.
Now there are those that might be quick to say, "But Seagull, the city of
The net result of that lease is that Branson Landing, its promenade, "Public Square," stores, and restaurants, condos, parking lots, etc. are treated as private land not public land. Said another way, for about the next 99 years, subject only to applicable laws and to restrictions negotiated into the lease, HCW has full control of the property and can use it and sub lease it for any lawful purpose in any manner it chooses.
Does this mean that the city has no more control of the promenade, public square, parking lots, etc. at Branson Landing than it does the Wal-Mart parking lot? That's exactly right, for all practical purposes it is private land controlled by HCW.
Could the city have negotiated provisions into the Master Lease restricting how alcohol is served, specifically prohibiting the sale or distribution of any pornographic or obscene performances or materials as defined by Missouri Law, restricting new theatres, requiring prior city approval of tenants or their activities to ensure their consistency with Branson's value system, or requiring that purple petunias be planted in pots at each public entrance into Branson Landing, etc.? Whether or not they would have been successful, the city could have tried to negotiate whatever it wanted into the lease.
Of course no one will ever know exactly how much effort was expended in this area because the negotiations were closed to the public under an exception to the Sunshine Law. Unless an Ole Seagull misses his guess however, about as much effort was spent on negotiating the planting of purple petunias at the entrances to Branson Landing as was spent trying to protect Branson's value system.
The good news is that HCW has hundreds of millions of dollars invested in Branson Landing and has a very real interest in preserving a family friendly environment at the Landing. In a conversation with Mr. Rick Huffman, the CEO of HCW, he expressed HCW's intent to strictly control open containers of beer and alcohol on the promenade, public square, and other public access areas of Branson Landing. Huffman further indicated that, to the maximum extent practicable, it was HCW's general intention to prohibit open containers of beer and alcohol in Branson Landings public access areas except for special events, held in the evening hours, and restricted to areas deemed appropriate for the event by HCW.