Greenville city leaders vote to move forward with “Bar 2022″ plan that will eliminate 500-foot-ordinance

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) -Business owners and residents in Greenville spoke out Thursday about city leaders looking to change its 500-foot-bar separation rule.

The rule requires any new bars within the city limits to be located no closer than 500 feet from an existing bar. However, the city has been looking to modify that and councilmembers met Thursday night to discuss an alternative that will eliminate the rule.

The 500-foot-rule has been in place for almost 13 years, but it may be coming to an end after the council passed a motion to continue moving forward with a plan they call “Bar 2022.″

The rule would place a specific size limit on bars. However, the current 500-foot-ordinance would be eliminated everywhere except near homes and churches.

The plan was proposed by some members of the council as a way to put guard rails up for removal of the 500-foot ordinance.

Jumail Blount, who is the owner of Area 22 Hookah Lounge, says he doesn’t agree with the 500-foot rule because he feels isn’t fair.

“Honestly, I’m against the 500-foot-rule,” Blount said. “I’m for the Bar 2022 rule, if it’s going to be expanded throughout the whole city. I think it opens the doors for unfairness for new business owners and some business owners that aren’t allowed to obtain an ABC permit.”

On the other hand, Greenville resident Travien Snow says he believes that things are fine the way they currently are.

“I feel like they should just keep it where it’s at,” Snow said. “There’s enough bars and liquor stores in Greenville. I’m pretty sure whether people go out or they go the club, they’re going to find something to drink. I don’t really think increasing the bars would be healthy.”

The city didn’t vote to officially put Bar 2022 rules into effect Thursday, however, they voted 5-1 to continue looking into it to see if it will work for everyone in Greenville going forward.

The city also says they will revisit the Bar 2022 proposal at a later date after they do more research because they would like to expand it citywide.