Church resists Walmart's effort to sell alcohol
by Jon Gillooly
October 08, 2012 01:18 AM | 3786 views | 13 13 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
POWDER SPRINGS — A Walmart Supercenter wants the Board of Commissioners to waive its restriction on selling alcohol within 600 feet of a church, a request the church is opposing.

The Rev. Bobby Wood, a member of Pine Grove Baptist Church who is currently serving as its interim pastor, said church members are asking commissioners not to approve the waiver for a wine and beer package license for the Walmart located on Barrett Parkway near the East-West Connector.

“They knew back when they built the store there, six years ago I think when the store was built, and they were aware of it at that time, and they tried to get the church to sign a waiver giving them permission,” Wood said. “The church didn’t sign a waiver, and now they’re coming back and trying to get the county to give them permission to sell the beer and wine.”

The county’s business license department denied Walmart’s application for a beer and wine license in August, prompting Walmart to appeal the decision to the county’s License Review Board, which approved the request in September.

The county’s community development director, Rob Hosack, said the Board of Commissioners would consider the issue at its 9 a.m. meeting on Tuesday.

“For us to be as built out as we are oftentimes there are distance waivers that come up periodically, so it’s not uncommon for the License Review Board to make recommendations to waive the requirement,” Hosack said.

In making the request, Walmart said customers have complained about not having the opportunity to buy beer or wine at the store.

“Over and over our customers complain that they have to go across the parking lot to a gas station to buy their beer or wine (and pay more), or go to another grocer who is allowed to sell beer and wine,” Walmart writes in the appeal. “In retail, if we are not able to compete fairly with other retailers in the market, then our business will suffer.”

Yet Rev. Wood said Walmart knew of the restriction when it built the store.

“Since they’re right next to the church, and the county codes, there was a reason for them to put the code in place I would imagine for them not to sell beer and wine within 600 feet of a church because the youth of the church, the safety of the people in the church,” Wood said.

As for the gas station that Walmart cites, that is located beyond the 600 foot ordinance ban, Wood points out.

“Of course we couldn’t object to that because they were in compliance,” he said.
Comments
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Kenneth Kurtz
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October 09, 2012
The law should have not been there in the first place. This church is trying to enforce their religious beliefs on the general public. This country guarantees separation of church and state ergo the law is unconstitutional. The members of the board that voted to uphold the law, violated their duty to represent all the people and should be impeached. Could you imagine the uproar if a Mosque required all women to wear veils within 600 feet? The Churches rights do not extend beyond their property lines.

Not Again
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October 08, 2012
So there is a law on the books, that Wallmart knew about when it built it's super center. Now they want an exception. You might want to argue if the law is proper or not, but that is not what should be considered here. Walmart put themselves into this position knowing the law, and now they want to use their weight to get around it.

What is the purpose of a law if someone can get an exception just by asking. Does this mean I can ask for an exception for any law that gets in my way?
too funny
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October 08, 2012
It is a well known fact that good and pure church members can get sin on them from 600 feet away.
geeeez
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October 08, 2012
What! Really!

If you cannot prevent your followers from buying it 600 feet away from where you are admonoshing them for their evil sinner ways, what makes you think they won't go 1000 feet away and buy their booze???
Phil Collins
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October 08, 2012
Apparently a church has no influence beyond 600 feet.
Cobb Cowboy
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October 08, 2012
Me thinks Gringo cut class the day his law professor covered Georgia liquor license law.
Phil Collins
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October 08, 2012
I think he's saying that there is no basis for the law. What does proximity to a church have to do with alcohol sales? Nothing.
Sue Livesay
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October 08, 2012
@Phil Collins

A better question to ask would be what is a legal opinion worth that comes from someone who has no training in the law? It is worthless, which is why there are real attorneys who are paid to give real legal opinions.
Gringo Bandito
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October 08, 2012
There is no legitimate legal basis for preventing the sale of alcohol within 600 feet of a church.
Mr Guess Who
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October 08, 2012
@Gringo Bandito

Err,Gringo, what law school did you graduate from?
Phil Collins
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October 08, 2012
@Mr Guess Who

It has nothing to do with law school. The objection to alcohol sales within 600 feet of a church is a religious objection and has no place being written into law.

Joe Six Pack
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October 08, 2012
Mr Collins, please share why so many non lawyers are so quick with baseless legal opinions. Thank You.
Max's Bacon
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October 08, 2012
Can Joe Six Pack give a reason not based on religion to ban alcohol sales in close proximity to a church?
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