Clarksville, TN – The Clarksville city council is scheduled to vote on a controversial ordinance that would eliminate the limit on the number of liquor stores allowed withing the city limits. The controversial ordinance was presented to the Public Safety committee of the city council by Councilwoman Deanna McLaughlin.
Under her original proposal, which according to the ordinance hasn’t been amended since 1963, the new ordinance would have expanded the number of liquor stores permitted in the city to 20.
After discussion of the ordinance, the Public Safety Committee has recommended to the city council that they lift the limit entirely on the number of liquor stores allowed within the city limits.
This has a number of citizens upset, including local pastor and County Commissioner Tommy Vallejos.
Vallejos tells Clarksville Online, “We don’t have a line in front of liquor stores, we have a line of people in trouble with alcohol”. Vallejos is opposed to having more liquor stores in Clarksville noting that “We have enough stores already”.
According to a Tennessee Department of Safety report, there were 228 alcohol impaired crashes in Clarksville/Montgomery County in 2008, 252 in 2009, and 242 in 2010. So far this year, there have been 622 DUI’s issued by city police and county sheriff’s officers. The proposed ordinance states that since the population of Clarksville has increased significantly since 1963, the need for additional liquor stores is justified.
McLaughlin says she was approached by two soldiers at Fort Campbell who were getting out of the service and wanted to retire in Clarksville. They wanted to open a liquor store in the Exit 1 area of Clarksville, but were told by city officials that the city could not permit another store because all the permits allowed had been used.
“I don’t think it’s unreasonable for people to engage in the perfectly legal operation of a liquor store”, said McLaughlin. “The sale and purchase of alcohol is not against the law by adults of age, and if law abiding citizens want to operate a liquor store or purchase alcohol, it’s not against the law”, said McLaughlin.
The Public Safety committee said the Chief of Police, Al Ansley, and Fire Chief Mike Roberts, didn’t have any problem with the ordinance. Pastor Vallejos said he had organized a protest of concerned citizens including other area pastors who planned to protest the ordinance at tomorrow nights council session. Mayor Kim McMillan was unavailable for comment on this story.
The Clarksville City Council meets in regular session, the first Thursday of each month at 7:00pm. Meetings are open to the public.