Liquor store moratorium proposed by councilman

Published 5:51 pm Saturday, January 25, 2014

New liquor stores may have a difficult time opening up shop in Selma.

Two weeks after the city considered a moratorium on payday loan shops, Selma City Councilman Cecil Williamson proposed a six-month moratorium Friday on liquor stores, bars and convenience stores.

“I thought that if we were going to consider limiting the number of payday loan places it would be a good time to look at the number of liquor establishments in the city. I just don’t think we need any more.”

Email newsletter signup

The moratorium wouldn’t affect any businesses currently licensed, but would prevent businesses from renewing or obtaining new licenses in the city limits. During the six-month moratorium, Williamson said he wants to research the number of liquor stores, bars and convenience stores in comparison to cities of similar size. If Selma has a large number of liquor stores and bars in comparison to the city’s population, Williamson said the city shouldn’t issue any more liquor licenses. If not, he said the city should continue issuing permits.

Williamson has a history of abstaining or voting against liquor licenses during council meetings and said that’s due, in part, to his profession as a pastor.

“I think people should exercise moderation,” he said. “I think it would be better to concentrate them in an entertainment district instead of having them spread throughout the city.”

He said the moratorium isn’t the government intervening in private business, but rather looking out for the safety of Selma residents. Earlier this month, a man was robbed and killed at a package store on Broad Street while walking to his car.

“It is our job as the government to provide for the safety of the citizens,” he said. “We have had several shootings and incidents at clubs and liquor stores. I just don’t think we need any more.”