Law loophole topic of debate

Published 7:00 am Thursday, May 22, 2014

Tuesday’s city council meeting was a hotbed of debate concerning Picayune’s current status as a resort city.

That status allows restaurants and a couple of bars to sell liquor by the drink.

Some community members discovered a conflict between the state law and city’s zoning ordinances, essentially making it legal to establish a bar in a residential neighborhood.

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While it would be nearly impossible for someone to actually accomplish this, since city officials would fight such a move, but by these community members expressing their concern of this loophole it demonstrates we have private citizens looking out for the city’s best interest.

To lessen those concerns, the city’s attorney stated that he intends to work with the state to have language included in the state law that would ensure the city has the last say in where such an establishment would set up shop. Again, the city has no intention of letting bars sprout up next to our homes.

Another aspect of the discussion was whether this relatively new resort city status has caused a negative or positive change within the city.

There were questions as to whether incidents of DUI arrests have increased or decreased, and whether more revenue and jobs were generated as a result of the sale of liquor.

Police Chief Bryan Dawsey said at the meeting that there has been no increase in the number of DUI arrests.

Also, jobs have been created. Applebee’s now employs Pearl River County residents; as does Fatty’s, which also has a bar.

Let’s not forget about the new Mexican restaurant near Walmart. These are all new businesses that were established after the city received its resort status. Admittedly, there is still room to grow. Let the growth continue.