Council cans booze

Southside residents tell city council “No More Alcohol”


Several southside residents appeared before the Monroe City Council on Tuesday night to protest the growing number of stores selling alcohol in their neighborhoods. A request to approve an alcoholic beverages permit to a Winnsboro Road store was not approved by the council. Save More Foods, 1309 Winnsboro Road, received clearance from the Department of Planning and Urban Development to seek authorization from the council to obtain a permit allowing it to sell alcohol beverages with consumption off-premise as an accessory use to its retail business. The matter required a major conditional use in a B-2 Neighborhood Business District.

A motion was made to consider the matter, however, the chambers went silent and it died for a lack of a second.
Residents from the community praised the council on its decision to not consider the authorization. They came with petitions signed and told the council that they no longer wanted any more alcoholic beverages sold in their neighborhood.

Jimmy Herring is a southside resident and he came with a petition of 118 signatures. He said that the list includes business leaders, churches and residents. He said that he and other residents are not opposed to Save More Foods as a grocery store, but were against alcohol sales.

“It’s going to perpetuate more drug use, prostitution, alcohol sales to minors, public intoxication, vagrants begging, weapons and gun violence and loud music, public urination, littering, and stress on the Monroe Police Department,” Herring said.

Councilman Eddie Clark asked that Herring’s petition be accepted and added to the minutes of the meeting, becoming public record.

Sylvia Brass, who is the principal of Minnie Ruffin Elementary School, which sits a few blocks from the proposed site, said that she came to speak for her children and their families.

“We spend everyday at that school teaching those children to look for the higher things in life, to aspire to wonderful things in life. We are so proud of all of the beautiful housing that we have on that side of town and I hope I live to see the time we have beautiful stores and beautiful edifices. Those are the things I want my babies (students) to see,” she said.

Brass said she does not want her students exposed to liquor.

“We found out in education that exposure is the main thing that separates children who produce from children who don’t produce. And so what we try to do is give them maximum exposure to positive things,” she said.

Jennifer Belton said that she has been a southside resident for 40 years and that the area doesn’t need any more stores selling alcohol.

“We don’t need the liquor. We are not opposed to the grocery store, we just don’t need the alcohol. We can’t even sleep at night. There are gun shots, people walking all up and down the streets begging. If you’re going to put something on the southside, put something positive there, we don’t always need alcohol. Put a tutoring center for these children. Put some exercise equipment for them. We don’t need any more alcohol. We’ve got seven or eight (stores) just lined up down the street. We’re not opposed to the grocery store, that’s fine, we just don’t need any more alcohol…we’ve had enough,” Belton said.