Gluckstadt leaders approve ordinance limiting placement of liquor stores in the city limits

((Source: KAIT-TV))
Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 4:59 PM CDT
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GLUCKSTADT, Miss. (WLBT) - A new ordinance governing the placement of liquor stores in Gluckstadt has been approved by the mayor and board of aldermen.

Tuesday, the board voted 3-2 to amend its zoning ordinance to prevent new package stores from being built within 4,000 square feet of existing ones.

The measure goes into effect 30 days after the measure’s passage.

Mayor Walter Morrison has already signed the ordinance, despite having mixed emotions about it.

“Personally, I don’t think the government should choose winners and losers in the economy,” he said. “On the one hand, if this was being done because there was interest in... trying to uphold a certain character, I can understand. But everybody who came and spoke in favor of the ordinance had an economic goal.”

“They don’t think we ought to have more liquor stores in town because they’re good or bad [but because] they want theirs to be guaranteed success.”

A public hearing was held on August 9 at Gluckstadt City Hall.

Under the measure, liquor stores may not be located within 4,000 feet of any existing package retailers unless they have already received a conditional use permit from the city.

Meanwhile, anyone who receives a conditional use permit for a wine and spirits retailer must obtain a building permit within 180 days, or the conditional use is revoked.

Stores also will lose their conditional use status if the store is discontinued or abandoned for 180 consecutive days or for 18 months during any three-year period.

Voting in favor of the measure was Aldermen Miya Warfield-Bates, Jayce Powell, and Lisa Williams. Opposed were Aldermen John Taylor and Wesley Slay.

Williams says the ordinance is about protecting the character of the state’s newest city. The Mississippi Supreme Court upheld Gluckstadt’s incorporation efforts in May 2021.

“I have shared in our public meetings to remind everyone the citizens of the community have been vocal over the last several years that they do not want to see any more liquor stores, convenience stores, gas stations, and storage facilities,” she said in a statement. “We also heard this repeatedly during the incorporation petition activity in 2016 and early 2017.”

She said there are currently four liquor stores in the city’s 10.8 square miles of territory. “Multiple citizens and business owners who spoke to the mayor and board... expressed they would prefer NO MORE liquor stores,” Williams wrote. “I hope the community is appreciative of the passing of the new ordinance so that we can attempt to protect this city [and] its residents, and respect the citizens’ wishes and desires.”

Morrison said a better way to limit liquor stores would be to look at every proposed store on an individual basis, and “determine whether or not the individual had merit.”

“We have set up four businesses who are not going to have to worry about the competition any further, and that’s not what a free market is about,” he said. “But I’m not going to veto it.”

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