The Warren County Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday night to protest a plan by city officials to do away with distance requirements when it comes to selling alcohol near schools, churches and daycares.
“This is very troubling,” admitted Director of Schools Bobby Cox concerning the city’s vote to lift distance restrictions when it comes to being allowed to sell alcoholic beverages.
The distance is presently 300 feet from front door to front door. However, should the plan pass on second reading next month, then all limitations about alcohol sales would be lifted within the city of McMinnville. Warren County, outside the city of McMinnville, still maintains a 3,000-foot restriction between licensed beer stores, schools and houses of worship.
“This sends the wrong message,” said School Board member Bill Zechman. “The distance brings a bit of decency. Where you allow these stores sends a message to the community.”
The planned change in ordinance would also lift the restrictions on distance to churches, which has caused a large outcry from McMinnville’s considerably large church community. The backlash has gotten to the point that at least one alderman has suggested holding the next meeting at the Civic Center so they can accommodate the crowd that’s expected. The vote during first read stood at 4-3.
One person who wants to speak when the vote comes for second read is Cox. He says he will ask to be added to the agenda so he can address the city board and voice his concerns over its plans.
The Board of Education is expected to be at the meeting en masse to show its opposition.
“I think we need to show we care for our children,” said new School Board member Helen Martin.
The vote to resist the change in city ordinance was unanimous. The Board of Education will draft a letter of protest and send it to the McMinnville Board of Mayor and Aldermen.