Jackson council passes on liquor restriction proposal

Staff Writer

JACKSON — A proposed plan to limit the number of liquor stores within a 1-mile radius of one another was left to die on the vine at the Sept. 27 Jackson Township Council meeting, as input from two other township entities helped to kill the idea.

The proposed law, originally put forth by Councilman Scott Martin, allowed for the regulation of where in Jackson liquor distribution licenses would be awarded.

Liquor distribution licenses are worth up to $500,000, according to municipal officials.

“The point of the ordinance is to have some smart planning with industry going forward,” Martin said when he raised the idea last month. “You don’t want to have a glut of one type of store in an area of town.”

Council members and residents expressed concern that such an ordinance would stifle competition among businesses, eliminate the need for competitive pricing and limit where residents can choose to shop.

The council members decided to hold off on making a decision on the restriction until the Planning Board and the Economic Development Committee (EDC) had a chance to review the proposal.

Since that time, the Planning Board and the EDC reviewed the suggestion and subsequently voted unanimously against the proposed ordinance.

Their actions were forwarded to the council.

“I was violently opposed to this and I think it [would have] certainly hurt any business wanting to come in if there were these restrictions,” Councilwoman Bobbie Rivere said. “I am really glad that the Planning Board and the EDC agreed.”

Despite the ordinance’s failure to even come up for a vote, Martin said he believed the discussion was not a waste of time.

“I think it’s great to see democracy in action,” he said. “You put an idea forth, people bounce it around, and you decide in one direction or another.”

— Contact Andrew Martins at amartins@gmnews.com