Colonial Heights won't extend drinking hours
By James Peacemaker, Jr., Managing Editor
Mar 15, 2013, 12:58
The Colonial Heights City Council decided not to extend alcohol sales on Saturday nights in a split decision Tuesday night.
The measure would have allowed bars and restaurants to sell alcohol until 2 a.m. Sunday morning. Several council members said they had known people who died from alcohol-related crashes or known people who had suffered from problems with alcohol. Others noted that people will just drive farther to drink in other localities.
Nathan Jones, a representative from Buffalo Wild Wings in North Carolina who was the only member of the public to speak, said it would help its business, especially when they want to play sports games from the West Coast that may go past midnight. He said it’s unfair when other surrounding localities allow alcohol to be served later.
Councilman Milton E. Freeland Jr. said businesses face stiff competition and noted that the police department said they have no issues with extending the hours.
Councilman W. Joe Green Jr. noted however that the current ordinance does not force businesses to close, only stop serving alcohol at midnight. He said
extending hours was “not worth the
headaches.” He also said alcohol should not be sold on Sundays.
“While the soldiers on Fort Lee probably enjoy going out and having a good social time, its probably better if they can get back a little earlier and more sober,” he said.
Councilwoman Diane H. Yates said she wouldn’t support the measure because she has lost people to crashes.
Councilman Kenneth B. Frenier said a change wouldn’t make much difference and he would not support it.
Councilman John T. Wood said although he prefers fruit juice to fermented beverages, he thinks citizens are responsible enough to make these decisions on their own and sided with personal liberty and less government restriction.
“I am not in a position of moral superiority,” he said. “... One of the reasons that Colonial Heights has prospered and so many others have not is that we have a strong law enforcement … and because we have citizens that are responsible enough in whatever they partake and how they manage their lives.”
In the end, council voted 4-3 to reject the change.
Council members Frenier, Green, Yates and Mayor C. Scott Davis voted no, while T. Gregory Kochuba, Wood and Freeland voted yes.