By RICK HAYES email@example.com
---- — MT. VERNON — No public opinion was offered during Monday’s Jefferson County Board meeting on an ordinance which would permit Sunday liquor sales.
However, at least two of the 13 Board members said they would vote against the proposal when it comes up for a vote at the June 24 meeting, and one member indicated he would support the proposal.
Doug and Vickie Webb of the Woodlawn Bar have requested their business be open on Sunday. The bar currently has a Class A license, which allows for on-site consumption. Class A licenses are also held by Woodlawn Shell, Scheller Playhouse and Bluford American Legion, although neither the Legion or Playhouse is open on Sunday.
The County Board is allowing a 30-day public comment period after concerns were raised that no public comment period was allowed when the county Liquor Commission — composed of Chairman Robert White, Sheriff Roger Mulch, and State’s Attorney Doug Hoffman — allowed a package store license at Midway Market in Bluford.
“Board member Donnie Rector asked that we have a waiting period because there are several of his constituents in his district where this establishment is that were frustrated, and we’ve changed codes and ordinances to reflect that,” White said.
“This is a little bit different because the Woodlawn Bar has brought this to us requesting this. They already have a license to sell on premise so they’re good there. What they don’t have is permission to sell on Sunday so I committed to Doug and Vickie we would discuss this, and on a 30-day public comment and bring back in June,” he continued.
An audience member alleged the Shell station was selling open liquor on Sundays, which surprised the Board since no Sunday sales have been approved.
Wayne Hicks said he has known Doug Webb for 50 years, saying, “Even though that lifestyle is not my lifestyle, Doug has the same right of business as they have in this city. It takes a lot of money to stay in business, pay the bills and overhead, and he has just as much a right as those in this community.”
“I want to speak in opposition to it,” said Robert Watt. “I feel like there is ample opportunity to indulge in that kind of activity if they wish already. For us to open it up on Sunday is a mistake. If we just put one more drunk driver on the road one more day of the week I think it would be a mistake.”
Don Rector also said he would be voting in opposition.
“It’s the day for the Lord and families, and it can cause problems,” Rector said.
White said he would not be voting on the issue due to “economic interests” White also said he would suggest a 2 p.m. opening time, if the ordinance is approved, out of respect for the church community.
“Sunday is traditionally a day of rest, a day of worship, and I believe that is the reason we have not alcohol sales on Sunday. With that in mind, I would like to see the recommendation of 2 p.m. … that gives folks time to enjoy their services and get to where they’re going after Sunday morning services,” he said.
James Malone added that if the county considers the proposal, the hours should be consistent with the city hours, which are noon to 10 p.m., according to information the county received from City Manager Ron Neibert.