By David Knox
The Metropolitan Lynchburg/Moore County Council, in response spurred by a request from the owners of the Moon Pie General Store, voted to create a “retail district” on the Historic Square to allow the sale of beer.
Amy Cashion made the proposal and it passed 12-3 by roll call vote. Gordon Millsaps, Arvis Bobo and Sunny Rae Moorehead voted no.
The owners of Moon Pie said in their request to the council months ago that they felt their store was unfairly disadvantaged, since Jack Daniel’s Hardware and General Store and Sweet Southern Spirits General Store were allowed to sell Jack Daniel’s coolers and they were not allowed to sell their Moon Pie Beer for off-premises consumption.
Those two businesses were selling the beer product before the council created a distance requirement in 2016 to prevent beer sales within 2,000 feet of a church, school or place of public gathering and within 300 feet of a residence.
The new law does keep the distance requirements in place outside of this Square retail district.
The retail district begins at Hile Street and South Mechanic Street at Majors Boulevard and runs down to Short Street and Main Street South including Park Alley, which runs behind the businesses at the south end of the square. No businesses that front Majors Boulevard are included.
It effectively includes all the businesses on the square on both sides of the streets, and runs down to the Barrel House BBQ.
Mayor Bonnie Lewis said that concerns any one may have about an increase in crime because of the sale of beer are unfounded. She said in discussions with Sheriff Tyler Hatfield that there have not been issues with the sale of beer at Dollar General on Majors Boulevard.
She added that research from Dollar General showed that the store sells on average $5,000 to $6,000 of beer a week.
“That’s income,” Lewis said. “That’s revenue.”
Bobo objected during the discussion before the proposal passed, saying, the “distance requirement doesn’t amount to anything if we’re going to make exceptions.”
The law was to be signed and permit given Tuesday morning and Moon Pie was expected to be able to sell its Moon Pie Beer on Saturday when it has a promotion with NASA tied to the 50th anniversary of the first moon walk.