Public comment heard on 500-foot separation rule for bars in Greenville

Public comment heard on 500-foot separation rule for bars in Greenville
Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 6:04 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - A rule in place for over a decade could be lifted by the Greenville City Council to allow more bars and clubs to move into the Uptown area.

Wednesday, three public input sessions brought dozens of voices to the table to weigh in.

“Downtown Greenville is in a much different place than it was 12 years ago,” Michael Overton said.

Overton moves commercial properties across Eastern Carolina and has had interest from clients to take their ideas to Uptown.

However, the current regulation of one city ordinance requires 500 feet of separation between bars and clubs.

A proposal to lift the rule is on the table and the city wants to know how people who live, work, and play in Greenville feel about it.

“People came today not because they already had this thing figured out. People came today with ideas and people came today with an open spirit,” Marion Blackburn, Greenville city councilwoman said. “People came today also acknowledging where we were in the past knowing that we do not want to go back there.”

Blackburn will be one of seven votes when the issue is ready for the City Council.

For those trying to move real estate in the Uptown district, the waiting game continues. What types of businesses have an interest in taking up space?

“A daiquiri bar, a martini bar, a wine bar, a barcade, which is basically an arcade that you can serve drinks at,” Overton listed off. “We’ve had a record store that wanted to do drinks. We’ve had a health spa that wanted to sell drinks and none of those are allowed.”

His business waits for the next steps from the city.

“We’re going back probably sometime in September with the results that we’ve got from these meetings and then we’ll look to the manager’s office and City Council for further direction,” Thomas Barnett, Greenville Planning and Development Services director said.

The city reports at least 39 alcohol establishments citywide and at least 21 currently vacant spots for business in the Uptown area.

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