Despite Piedmont council's vote asking for Sunday alcohol sales, informal opinion seems divided
by Laura Gaddy
Dec 13, 2013 | 3328 views |  0 comments | 85 85 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A customer's hand reaches in the cooler for a cold beer at the Country Corner store in Piedmont. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
A customer's hand reaches in the cooler for a cold beer at the Country Corner store in Piedmont. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
PIEDMONT — All but one member of the Piedmont City Council voted in support of Sunday alcohol sales last week, but community residents may be less united about the matter.

Piedmont City Councilwoman Brenda Spears said she cast the lone dissenting vote on the matter because she saw no evidence that Sunday sales will help boost the city’s bottom line in a significant way.

“I have had so many positive calls from all seven districts,” Spears said. “I was surprised at that.”

Yet when local store owner Ronnie Norton twice asked the City Council in open meetings within a six-month period to consider the matter, his requests generated little public response.

Piedmont Mayor Bill Baker said the council considered the measure at Norton’s urging. The measure it approved asks the Alabama Legislature to allow Sunday sales. Lawmakers will have the opportunity to consider the bill when they convene early next year.

City attorney Ron Allen said Piedmont’s proposal is structured so that the Legislature would permit the sale of alcohol on Sundays. That differs from measures passed earlier this year to allow Sunday sales in Anniston and Weaver, which required second votes by those city councils after the Legislature’s approval.

Regardless of how legalized Sunday sales might come about, informal opinion seems divided. Of 11 people questioned by a reporter Wednesday, five were against Sunday alcohol sales, five supported Sunday sales and one was indifferent about the topic. Those who support Sunday sales said they think the practice will help the city make more money.

“If you don’t want to drink alcohol on Sunday, don’t drink alcohol on Sunday,” Jeff Byers, owner of Byers Auto Sales in Piedmont, said while eating lunch at Solid Rock Cafe Wednesday. “Let’s get the revenue back in the city where it comes from.”

Those who oppose Sunday alcohol sales do so in part on fundamental religious grounds. Beverly Hart said the practice violates her beliefs.

“They can buy on Saturday night,” she said. “It’s a holy day.”

Jim Myers, who grew up in New England before moving to Piedmont, said he opposes Sunday alcohol sales for another reason. He said that people in his hometown, including members of his family, had a casual attitude about alcohol consumption and suffered for it.

“I don’t think they should sell any alcohol on any day,” Myers said. “I’ve seen the outcome of what happens with drunk drivers and I know that it’s not pretty.”

Nonetheless, other people hope the measure is successful for their own convenience.

“I wish they would hurry up,” said Lonnie Lambert, a Cherokee County man who said he buys alcohol in Piedmont every day of the week except Sunday.

Staff writer Laura Gaddy: 256-235-3544. On Twitter @LJohnson_Star.

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