Knoxville City Council votes to repeal ordinance keeping bars away from churches

Nov. 22, 2016: Knoxville city leaders voted to do away with an ordinance that requires businesses serving beer to be located at least 300 feet away from churches.

Impassioned speeches were made for and against repealing a city of Knoxville ordinance requiring businesses that serve beer stay 300 feet away from churches at the council's meeting Tuesday night. 

"The businesses that this ordinance affects are not rowdy biker bars,” said one brewery owner.

"This ordinance does nothing, except one thing it hurts churches like ours and others that are growing," said One Life Church Pastor Rodney Arnold.

"Alcohol has touched my life as a pastor and as a person. Not because I have ever tasted it, but because family members close friends and parishioners have had their lives devastated by it,” said Hinton Street Bible Church Pastor Dale Hinton.

After some debate, the city council voted to repeal the ordinance in a five to three vote.

Antioch Baptist Church Pastor Doug Stauffer hopes the council will consider a more restrictive amendment, keeping a beer ban in place for some neighborhoods but lifting places like strip malls and commercial zones open to housing both churches and bars.

"The church in the strip center, if he doesn't like his neighbors he can just pack up and leave - we can't,” said Stauffer.

Councilman Nick Della Volpe is the man behind that twist on the all or nothing plan, but he's unsure just when to raise the idea again.

"When someone comes in for a beer permit application it is not relevant to say, you're 250 feet away you can't get the permit,” Della Volpe said.

Della Volpe explains he’s unsure when the ordinance will come up again as many people may now be weary of discussing the measure.

(© 2016 WBIR)


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