Commission’s decision hampers business

Published 11:46 pm Wednesday, March 23, 2016

I am writing in response to the March 22 article regarding the dispute over the proposed liquor license and brew-pub in Springhill. I agree that the commission’s decision to deny this proposal is indeed “arbitrary and capricious.”

I am embarrassed that our elected officials seem to believe that Pike County residents are so naïve and uneducated that we can’t recognize when a decision is based solely on opinion and not any actual facts.

The only major points in opposition to the proposed business appear to be safety concerns and feedback from Springhill residents. The commissioners were unable to provide even the slightest amount of verifiable evidence to support these claims. Instead the decision was made based on “common sense”, “several calls from the area”, and “personal moral objections.” These are unsubstantiated statements and do not provide sufficient evidence to justify their decision. The legislative process needs to be held to a much higher standard and include empirical data obtained from neutral sources who are not involved in the issue.

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Brew-pubs have been gaining popularity since the early 1990s – over 25 years ago! This is not a radically new and risky idea. There are many successful brew-pubs in communities throughout Alabama, including Montgomery. Anyone familiar with the concept of a brew-pub understands that one of the main goals of this type of restaurant is to provide high-quality, craft beer and hearty pub style food. A single beer at a brew-pub typically costs $5.00 or more, so it is unlikely that patrons will overindulge. This type of establishment is quite different from a honky-tonk that sells dollar long-necks.

I am not an investor but, in all fairness, I do not think this is a viable business plan anyway. There are too many obstacles to overcome such as the distance from Troy, the possible perception of it being “upscale” and therefore expensive, and the conservative nature of our residents. Instead of arbitrarily and capriciously blocking an idea for development, why not support an entrepreneur who is at least trying to do something different and add a slightly more cosmopolitan business in our area? A new business has a hard enough time as it is being successful and entrepreneurs should not have to fight against the local government to at least be given the opportunity to prosper in our community.

Mary Ann Hooten

Henderson Resident