HomeNewsTwo men, two takes on liquor store restrictions in Columbia County

Two men, two takes on liquor store restrictions in Columbia County

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Two men, both in the liquor store business, had opposite views of a proposal to restrict liquor store locations in Columbia County during a commission meeting Tuesday night.

One, Pranav Patel, lost out on his attempt to open a liquor store at Furys Ferry Road and Evans to Locks Road in Evans, which was the corner where three men with the same last name but with competing businesses all applied to open a liquor store on the same corner. Pranav Patel tried to convince commissioners to vote against the proposed ordinance because it limits competition.

“It seems to be targeting entrepreneurs who are willing to risk their capital,” Pranav Patel said.

The other, Deep Patel, is part of a family that won the race to open liquor stores in Columbia County. His family owns two Liquor Land stores.

“Competition is not the issue,” Deep Patel said. “It’s keeping our county clean and looking good.”

MORE: Updated, more-restrictive liquor store law passes first hurdle

Tuesday night was the first reading of the ordinance. It won’t become law until a second reading on May 17 and that’s if all five commissioners vote for it at that meeting. Tuesday night all five voted to let the ordinance to live on after the first reading.

Currently state law prohibits a liquor store from opening within 500 feet of another liquor store. Columbia County’s proposal would extend that exclusion zone to one mile. The proposal would also prevent any new liquor store from opening within 1,000 feet of a school, church, county park or alcohol treatment facility.

Pranav Patel said that would make it nearly impossible for anyone to open a new liquor store. Currently, there are 17 liquor stores in Columbia County and all are within one mile of another liquor store. But they would be allowed to continue operating.

Pranav Patel said the number of schools and churches in the county would also make it very difficult to find a suitable location for a liquor store.

“That’s true,” said Commissioner Connie Melear, who proposed the ordinance. “We have a church or school on about every corner.”

Joshua B. Good is a staff reporter covering Columbia County and military/veterans’ issues for The Augusta Press. Reach him at [email protected] 

3 COMMENTS

  1. Tell the loser to leave our community, we don’t need 18 liquor stores for soon to be 200,000 people when so many are too young or too old to drink and for that matter so many are too smart to drink.

  2. The restraint of private enterprise should only occur for extremely good reasons. Let’s hear someone advance the reasoning for limiting the number of liquor stores in Columbia County. The marketplace will control the number of outlets without government interference.

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