Heated debate over Dollar General alcohol sales

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Eleven Dollar General stores in Montgomery asked the city for approval to sell beer and wine.

Normally, the city council doesn't make that call, but because several residents objected to requests at six of the locations, the issue was on the council agenda Tuesday night.

One by one residents shared their concerns before the Montgomery City Council about the beer and wine sales.

Some worried that it would increase loitering and crime around their homes and churches.

Camella Oliver goes to church on Lower Wetumpka Road.

"We are saturating the area with beer and liquor licenses. And we have a school there, we have about three churches in the area. And the children in that area don't need a whole lot of liquor."

"I just can't support that," says District 6 Councilman John Dow.

Dow and Councilman Tracy Larkin voted against approving the alcohol permits for the six stores.

"To vote in favor of this I don't think is sending the right message from my end to the community that we're supportive and we're helping you fight the fight," says Dow.

The six protested locations are on the East South Boulevard, Norman Bridge Road, Coliseum Boulevard, Mobile Highway, Lower Wetumpka Road, and Patton Avenue.

Despite the two votes against, all six applications were approved. City council President Charles Jinright says it was the fair thing to do.

"If a grocery store next door's got it and if Dollar General needs it, they've got to have it to compete. So I see it as an opportunity to compete."

While the decisions didn't sit well with some, at least one resident isn't concerned.

"I would say overall it's a pretty good thing because all other stores do sell liquor at the same time, or beer per say, but I don't see why it should be an issue, though," says Lanthony Perdum.

The city council passed a new ordinance requiring any business owner wanting to sell alcohol to come before the council for approval.

Up until now, only on-premises businesses like lounges and restaurants were required to do that.  In this case, it doesn't apply to Dollar General since they started the process before the ordinance was passed.

Residents have until June 25th to protest the beer and wine sales in the other five Dollar General stores.

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