Short Mtn. Market Faces Uncertain Future

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Being too close to a church may soon bring about a change of ownership at Short Mountain Market.

The owners of the market recently went before the Cannon County Beer Board to request a change in the county’s rule which establishes a distance requirement between where businesses can sell beer, and schools and churches.

If the market is granted a variance, it can apply for a license to sell beer.

However, the Short Mountain Church of God is opposed to the store selling beer and doesn’t want the Beer Board to lower the distance requirement so the store can do so. The church is located just south of the market on State Route 146, or Short Mountain Rd.

The distance between the church and the market is approximate 0.2 miles. 2000 feet is 0.38 miles. The market is about 1,056 feet from the church.

Ralph Harvey, co-owner of Short Mountain Market, said he will likely have to sell the business if he is not able to obtain a beer license.

“Since DeKalb County changed their footage (requirement) my sales for gas, cigarettes and groceries have gone down,”Harvey said. “I am losing money because there are stores just down the road selling everything I have but they also can sell beer.”

Harvey said he is not trying to harm the church, only make a living.

“Our tax money is going out of our community but it (the distance requirement) is not stopping people from buying beer,” Harvey said. “They can go to Woodbury, DeKalb County or WarrenCounty.”

According to state law, “No beer will be sold except at places where such sale will not cause congestion of traffic or interference with schools, churches, or other places of public gathering, or otherwise interfere with public health, safety and morals, the county legislative body having the right to forbid such storage, sale or manufacture at places within two thousand feet (2,000') of such places of public gatherings in its discretion.” 

The congregation of Short Mountain Church of God wants that requirement to continue to stay as it is.

“It is tough economic times. We realize that,” Pastor Charles Stanton said. “We have no ill will toward the market. We want them to survive.

“We are here to encourage the beer board to uphold the law. We think it is for the betterment of our community if this request is rejected.” 

Beer board member and county commissioner Jim Bush was the only member able to attend the recent meeting, therefore no vote was taken. Another meeting will be scheduled in the near future.

Bush said he was opposed to lowering the distance allowed between an establishment selling beer and a church or school. 

“If we start cutting the state mandated 2,000 feet it is going to be a slippery slope,” Bush said.

Greg Mitchell, pastor of Center Hil lBaptist Churchand a former county commissioner, agreed.

“Where does it stop? Once we start deviating (from the state distance) it will never end. What are we going to give up for a dollar?”

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Members Opinions:
July 24, 2012 at 7:14pm
I really dislike this state law that prohibits the sale of alcohol when a church is nearby. If the people of the church are opposed to them selling beer then those are the people who should not go into the store to buy beer. Now personally, I am not a drinker, but I feel like if people want a convenient place to go an buy some alcohol then they shouldn't be denied that. I mean come on people lets all user our brains and realize that the tax money that comes from beer sales do in fact help out the county.
July 24, 2012 at 10:29pm
Most Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Episcopalian Churches I have been to sale beer and/or liquor INSIDE the Churches. If one of those sects built a Church in Cannon County within 2000 feet of another Church would they be able to sell beer in their Church?
July 25, 2012 at 5:56am
Seems like it is unconstitutional to have a law like that even on the books to me. Just how would the congregation at the SM Church of God be impacted if SMMkt sold beer? How many hours of operation/occupation does SMCoG have in any one week? What would Jesus do? TTT
July 25, 2012 at 6:36pm
No doubt Jesus would do what He did as mentioned in the scriptures where the writer gives us Jesus's first recorded miracle.

Some cities have shrunk that 2,000 down to 100 other grandfathered in next door or across the street operations.

Blue laws have been around for some time and eroded slower in the South than in other locales.

July 25, 2012 at 8:23pm
what is it going to hurt people have to make a living,nobody makes the church people go to the market.Look what has happened to the rest of the small markets in the county.boarded up an the people gone.I would think that the people that help support the store also help support the church.Again I ask what is it going to hurt.
July 26, 2012 at 5:54am
I don't see any indication of "growth" in this county since beer is being sold in the
town. I get so worn out with all this talk
about how it helps with the economy. Where is the proof? Let's just "fess" up. What we really need in this county is places to work, places to shop not another place to buy beer. I go to church, I don't sneak and buy alcohol in any county and all the bashing of those those of us who take our religion seriously is just not right. Rules and regulations were put on the books as safegards to the population. I personally believe this who world would be a better place without all the deaths and DUI and
abuse that go on as a result of alcohol.
July 27, 2012 at 7:28pm
@myview The tax money from the alcohol sales does help this county. If you remember reading a recent article on the courier it stated that the school board was cut a few cents and the increase in home ownership tax was denied. Well here is the thing if the people do not want the taxes increased on their homes that causes the issue of not being able to increase the revenue for the county. So at this point I do believe that it would be in the best mind of the board to approve the beer license for the market to try to increase the county revenue. Even if it is a little amount it still will help out our county. As for statistics on deaths related to DUI's, the majority of deaths occur of people from 16-21. Please note the age group 16-20 is not legally able to consume. That age bracket has the highest amount of deaths from drinking and driving. I am not saying that people over 21 do not die from this but statistics just show that minors are the ones that drive it up. Lastly there is a difference in the people who drink in excess(abusive) and those who just drink one or two every now and then. You are making it seem like anyone who drinks is a bad guy and should be banished to Hell. The country was founded on that we have freedom of religion, meaning government should not interfere with peoples worship or lack of worship.
July 28, 2012 at 7:31am
We need to be more worried about our morals, than our money.
July 28, 2012 at 5:11pm
@courierreader: A definition of morals is "A person's standards of behavior or beliefs concerning what is and is not acceptable for them to do." Please note that it says "A person's", therefore morals are subjective to any person and allows people to have different beliefs. I believe that the money for the county is priority. Take for example all of the non-profit org's that rely on county budget such as the rescue squad and fire dept's. They rely on money from the county to purchase new equipment with the ever changing materials used to construct houses and cars. Now lets move onto a recent discussion about closing a school down. With less income the county can get, simply means that the schools will probably be the first budget cut. The more the schools lose money, the greater the chance of them having to close a school and relocate the students of that school elsewhere. People need to realize that Cannon County seems to be in negative growth because we lack the money to support it. For example, our neighbors in Rutherford County are able to purchase alcohol on Sunday after noon. We in Cannon are not. Rutherford Co is able to receive the tax money collected from this sale.
Simply to put it:
1) our county is losing money
2) people do not want anything to change forcing more cuts
3) people believe that they must force everyone to follow their religion and their moral beliefs, which in my opinion is wrong.
August 01, 2012 at 3:02pm
I hope they get it when i want a beer i got to go to owens in centertown or into smithville or in woodbury. short mount market would help me. and i am not a drinker a drink every once in a while. when they get the perment when the horse rides come in it help the market.
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