CRESTVIEW — A bowling alley’s owner has secured an alcohol license, much to a local pastor’s chagrin.
The City Council met in a special session Tuesday to decide on an alcohol license for Shoal River Lanes. The business has operated with such a license for 28 years; however, due to a change in ownership, it was required, once again, to seek approval.
The Rev. Joel McGraw of Crestview Independent Baptist Church, the sole public speaker at the meeting, expressed opposition to the proposal. He said he found 40 local businesses in the phone book that sold alcohol — and that was “too many” for the area.
McGraw also referenced a man killed in Daphne, Ala., in an alcohol-influenced accident and read statements of people adversely affected by excessive alcohol consumption.
“I think it’s a very foolish thing,” McGraw said regarding approving the license.
He said alcohol sales, which already occur at the establishment, would create a negative environment for children and increase the risk of intoxicated drivers on Crestview roads.
Councilman Shannon Hayes asked Police Chief Tony Taylor if he has had any issues at the bowling alley.
“Not that I recall,” Taylor said.
The measure passed 4-0. Council President Joe Blocker recommended approving the license, given the businesses’ longevity and no complaints. Hayes motioned the approval and Councilman Bill Cox seconded. Councilman Doug Faircloth was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.
This isn’t the first time McGraw has publicly opposed alcohol sales in the Hub City.
Over the past few months, the pastor has emerged as a leading opponent to relaxed alcohol laws, taking a strict position not all local pastors agree with.
"The drinking of alcohol can be limited and stopped. Stopped is best," he said during an October city council meeting on a proposal to allow outdoor alcohol use during special downtown events.
That proposal passed, which inspired his Dec. 12 letter to the editor in reply to Hayes’ statement that the councilman had received many opinions but no facts to suggest relaxed alcohol regulations would harm the Main Street area.
In that letter, McGraw stated, “I am of the ‘opinion’ that alcohol is destructive to our society.”