City to hold public hearing on alcohol restrictions

From left: Mayor Lynn Spruill, City Attorney Chris Latimer and Ward 4 Alderman Jason Walker listen to residents give their opinions during citizen comments at the Board of Aldermen meeting on Tuesday. (Photo by Logan Kirkland, SDN)
By: 
LOGAN KIRKLAND
Staff Writer

The Starkville Board of Aldermen will soon hear public input on amending the city's alcohol restrictions  following a 4-3 vote during its meeting Tuesday.

The consideration for the public hearing passed with Ward 1 Alderman Ben Carver, Vice Mayor and Ward 6 Alderman Roy A’. Perkins and Ward 7 Alderman Henry Vaughn voting to not consider the public hearing. 

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.

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. 

During citizen comments, two people voiced their concerns both for and against having a public hearing. 

Starkville resident Chris Taylor said the board needs to have a public hearing on the matter. Taylor said there is a substantial number of people who could use the extra money from the potential extended hours of operation.

Although for most of the ordinance changes, Taylor said he is not in favor of the distance aspect for the churches.

“I really think you need to look at that ordinance and let the people decide,” Taylor said.

Starkville resident Dorothy Isaac voiced her concerns about not considering the changes in the alcohol restrictions.

Isaac said she feels this will put more pressure on local police and make areas in the city more dangerous if this ordinance goes in effect. 

“More crime will be committed,” Isaac said. “I will hold all of y’all accountable for it.”

Mayor Lynn Spruill told the SDN the vote and views throughout this process will be contentious on each side and will more than likely result in a 4-3 vote going either way.
Spruill said she ran on the platform of providing economic growth for the community and if people want to see more for the city, this is the way for the city to start taking those steps. 

Spruill encourages each alderman to listen to their specific ward, but to also consider what their decision can do for the city as a whole.

“This is not about getting re-elected,” Spruill said. “This is about doing what you believe is right for the town as a whole and not just your ward,”

Although contentious, Spruill wants the public to know both her and the board want to listen to what is concerning to them, but she also wants to move the city into a more economic efficient place. 

“I’m not doing it to torture people, I’m doing it so that we can move forward in a very aggressive way,” Spruill said. “I want to get things done.”

OTHER BUSINESS:

•The board approved the use to allow for an electrical substation at the north end of Azalea Lane.

•The board approved the consideration of the second annual Night Market, requested by the Greater Starkville Development Partnership.

•The board will hold school board interviews at their first meeting in September.

•The Sturgis Bike Rally will ride through Main Street. The bikers will be escorted by the SPD.

•The board recognized the achievements of Starkville’s youth baseball teams on their success in recent tournaments.

•The board approved the consideration for new equipment for the Parks and Recreation facilities.

•The mayor announced for members of the community to participate in Get Swept Up, which is a city clean up day.

•The board passed the consideration of request for preliminary plat approval for subdividing about 40 acres of land into 85 lots for the final phase of Country Club Estates with a 6-1 vote.

•The board held executive session, but did not take any action.

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