By Fred Woods
During their April 13 regular meeting, Lee County commissioners approved a lounge liquor license (package sales) for Mike’s Package Store in Beauregard in District 4. Sheriff Jay Jones reported there was no objection to the issuance of the license. Commissioner Robert Ham made the motion to approve a Resolution of Approval, Commissioner Shelia Eckman seconded and the motion unanimously carried. According to the official minutes, “Be It Resolved, the Lee County Commission does hereby approve a lounge retail liquor license for Mike’s Package Store located at 4435B Lee Road 166, Opelika, Alabama.”
Mike’s Package Store used to be locally owned but is now owned by Zoya LLC of Cartersville, Georgia. It lies directly across the road from the 139 year-old Nazareth Missionary Baptist Church. The Nazareth congregation and their pastor, S. Dewayne Drakeford, knew nothing of the liquor license application until some of them read about it in the paper, after the fact.
Rev. Drakeford, accompanied by 8-10 of his congregation, appeared before the commission to state, in no uncertain terms that he and they most certainly did object to the sale of hard liquor so near their church.
The commission mumbled; one commissioner even suggested they rescind their approval (they probably can’t do this legally), another attempted to deny that they were even in the license approval process.
Alabama law requires that “Each retail liquor license application must be approved … by the county commissioners if the retailer is located in the county and outside the limits of a municipality before the [ABC] board shall have the authority to grant the license.”
Receiving no satisfaction from the commission, Rev. Drakeford indicated he planned to contact the Alabama Beverage Control Board. Sadly, this avenue may not provide satisfaction either. A spokesperson at the local ABC office didn’t believe their office had any recourse but to issue the license once the local authority (the Lee County Commission) had given its approval.
Joe Leak appeared as a spokesman for several residents of northwest Lee County who will be affected by the probable 17 mile detour when the 80 year-old bridge across Saugahatchee Creek on Lee Road 65 is replaced beginning later this year. Mr. Leak asked the commissioners to reconsider their decision not to leave the old bridge in place (and in use) until the new bridge is built. This decision was made official in a 3-2 vote last October. It would have cost the county an additional $250,000.
In other action the commission:
-heard from several citizens who wanted their roads paved (they received the standard response: the county has adopted a policy of not paving additional roads since they can’t maintain the ones they have at present),
-heard from Terry Buford, who lives adjacent to the Sand Hill Recycling Center on US Hwy. 29 S, concerning the dust coming from the commercial operation and its harmful effects on Buford and his family,
-Named Linda Holt to fill a vacancy on the Beulah Utilities Board and
-Approved educational reimbursements for Sally Ann Mixon, a Sheriff’s Department employee.