LOCAL NEWS — One of the interesting things about Metro Moore County beer laws was it’s insistence that a store or restaurant selling beer not be within 2,000 feet from a school or church and 300 feet from a residence. It’s a requirement that has traditionally kept many of the businesses around the historic Lynchburg Square from applying for or received an on-site/off-site beer permit.
All that changed at the August 19 Metro Council Meeting, when the council voted 10-5 to change the traditional 2000 foot rule to a new 500 foot rule and exempt folks in the newly created Lynchburg Retail District from that rule.
That vote opened the door for the Metro Beer Board to approve a precedence setting beer permit on Tuesday, August 20 for the Stave and Stone Pizzeria located inside the Lynchburg Cigar Company.
According to the meeting’s minutes from July 15, Council member (and Beer Board member) Amy Cashion suggested the retail district, which starts at the top of Hiles Street then down Mechanic Street South, starting at the traffic light. The footprint then extends across Short Street and Main Street. It basically makes a big loop around the public square intended to include both the businesses on the square and those that are square adjacent such as Barrelhouse BBQ.
Cashion said she proposed this specific area in order to accommodate both the Main Street Church of Christ and the Elm Street Church of Christ off Majors Boulevard.
Though the retail district motion passed not everyone on the Metro Council was thrilled with the idea. Arvis Bobo, one of the three no votes, stated, “There’s not much need of us making rules if we are going to make an exception every time someone asks for it.”
The final votes on July 15 were John Taylor, Wayne Hawkins, Meghan Bailey, Houston Lindsey, Tommy Brown, Amy Cashion, Denny Harder, David Boyce, Gerald Burnett, Sandy Lewis, Shawn Adams, and Keith Moses voting in favor of the retail district and Bobo, Sunny Rae Moorehead, and Gordon Millsaps voting against.
By the August 19 meeting, some minds had changed.
Bobo stated that if the Council were to make changes to the distance rule they ought to do so county-wide. That’s when he proposed the church or school distance be reduced from 2000 feet to 500 feet. Keith Moses seconded.
Voting in favor of the new 500 foot rule were Bobo, Moses, John Taylor, Wayne Hawkins, Denning Harder, Gerald Burnett, Houston Lindsey, Gordon Millsaps, Sandy Lewis, and Megham Bailey. Voting no were Tommy Brown, Shawn Adams, Sunny Rae Moorehead, David Boyce, and Amy Cashion.
Council member Tommy Brown resigned from the Beer Board immediately following the meeting. Mayor Lewis says she hope to have a replacement by the next meeting.
The Metro Counil will meet again on September 16 at 6:30 p.m. at the American Legion Building. •