Southaven Proposes To Further Regulate Liquor Stores

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(Southaven, MS) - The City of Southaven is proposing restricting where new liquor stores can open up.

It’s hoping to keep liquor stores from opening within 1,500 feet of a school, church, or park.

City planning has changed over the years. There’s much more mixing of residential and commercial to give families healthier communities, but at the same time people don't want some businesses, like a liquor store, near where they live and play.

Parents like, Jennifer Williams are in favor of the city of Southaven tightening down on its zoning for liquor stores, “I think it`s a great idea.”

The city planning director is proposing not allowing any new liquor stores within 1,500 feet of a school, or church, or park. The current law is a stone's throw at 500 feet, and parks aren't even listed in it.

“Kids walking home from school, they just don't need to be exposed to that,” said Williams. “It's just not necessary around children. It’s just too much of a risk, especially the older they get.”

So far there are nine operating liquor stores in Southaven. Whitney Choat-Cook, the city's planning director says the ordinance will keep other liquor stores from opening within a half mile of each other, like they already do with hair and nail salons and spas.

“The one that's already there, its hard for them to keep their business open as an established business when the competition comes in right beside them so you saturate that market and one ends up vacating and we end up with a vacant building so that's problematic for us,” said Choat-Cook.

Existing liquor stores in Southaven will be grandfathered in. Liquor and Wine 4 Less Owner Wayne Rutledge believes the new ordinance is a win/win for everyone in the city of Southaven, “The people that partake are going to find you anyway, the people who don`t , don`t want to be bothered by it. I think you need to control where we`re going to be placed.”

Only time will tell how this will affect new liquor stores hoping to open up shop in Southaven.

The proposal will go before the mayor and board of alderman Feb. 19th for a final reading.