Provo city relaxes beer sale laws ever so slightly

Provo is letting its hair down a bit and relaxing its proximity restrictions on off-premises beer retailers.

Previously, any PBR peddlers in the city had to keep a robust 500-foot distance from any school, church, public library, public playground or public park. After a ruling from the Provo Municipal Council, off-premises beer sales may now encroach within 200 feet of our city’s kindergartens and Relief Societies.

For the quixotic teetotalers in town, this could be the ominous beginning of an orgiastic end for our idyllic little berg – next thing you know, those hooch-hounds will be able to purchase Miller High Life on ye holy Sabbath. For the arbitrary party animals and the lazier alcoholics of Provo, this is a small victory, a cause to crack open at least one tall-boy. For most of the city, however, it will mean about zilch, aside from a couple of new convenience stores in the future.

According to representatives of the city council, aligning with the rest of the state was just good sense. It seems, however, that there may be economic motivators behind the new ordinance. Do the math.

Up until now, off-premises beer retailers had to remain 500 feet away from any place where church folk, babies and librarians regularly congregate. Keep in mind what city we’re talking about – in Provo, you can’t swing Charles Bukowski’s beer-bloated corpse without dinging his skull on an LDS meetinghouse. There’s one on about every corner.

Maybe that’s a bit hyperbolic; however, an extra three hundred feet of cushion between beer sales and religious worship can make all the difference between another 7-Eleven in town and a vacant property not going to any commercial use.

One such property exists in South Provo – a locale that would serve well for a convenience store, but not a whole lot else. Before the Municipal Council’s ruling, the property’s proximity to a nearby church would have made opening a convenience store nigh unto impossible. Now it’s possible that the property can be put to some use. Ultimately, the ruling creates more possibilities for commerce and even jobs in the City of Provo.

We at The V have always said that our sleepy, conservative hamlet would benefit from more opportunities to buy watered-down swill. We didn’t necessarily mean economically. But, hey, we’ll take what we can get.

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