Aldermen to possibly discuss amending alcohol restrictions

A block party was held in downtown Starkville in early July to commemorate the swearing in of city officials (Photo by Ryan Phillips, SDN)
Staff Writer

Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill is asking the Board of Aldermen to call for the first of two public hearings to alleviate Starkville’s alcohol restrictions at the next board meeting during its work session this Friday.

The new regulations would adapt the minimum state statutes of allowing the sale of alcohol to be at least 100 feet from a school or church. Starkville’s current restriction is 250 feet. These changes would also allow the sale of beer with an 8 percent alcohol content while the current restriction sits at 5 percent. Additionally, restaurants and bars would have the ability to sell alcohol up to 1 a.m. each day of the week.

Spruill said she hopes to have the board vote on having the first of two public hearings to be held at the first meeting in September. The second public hearing and vote would occur during the second meeting in September.

If the board approves the vote, Spruill said the ordinance will take up to 30 days to go into effect. This would place the new regulations to begin in October, while halfway through football season. Spruill's intention is to bring the possibility of public hearings on the matter to the board and get the process underway as soon as possible in order to make the city “as active and vibrant as we possibly can.”

“I think giving our business people in town the greatest options for success is in our best interest,” Spruill said. “I believe this is truly an economic development opportunity.” Spruill said there is a collection of people who support this new ordinance. These people include restauranteurs, herself along with the Main Street Association who sent a letter to City Hall indicating their support in the ordinance.

“There is a community interest in offering our restaurants and our downtown area the opportunity to be the most active it can possibly be,” Spruill said. Although there seems to be a collection of supporters, Vice Mayor and Ward 6 Alderman Roy A’. Perkins voiced his concerns and view on the proposed ordinance.

“Having establishments that sell alcohol, beer, whiskey or wine in such proximity to the church is frowned upon by God.” Perkins said. “As a result I am compelled by my religious and Christian beliefs to respectfully oppose set measure.”

When asked about how the board would vote, Spruill said she doesn’t expect a pushback on a public hearing, but does expect to see some on the actual vote. Spruill said it is important to have the public hearings which would allow the public on both sides voice their concerns to the board.

Spruill said people can provide their opinions through mail, email, social media and by showing up to the aldermen meetings.

The board will hold its work session this Friday at 11 a.m. The next board meeting is on Aug. 15 at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.