Macon-Bibb may soon cap new liquor licenses and pawnbrokers

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Macon-Bibb County could soon put a stop to new liquor stores and pawnbrokers.

“These types of businesses literally have no benefit to the community in any shape form or fashion, not financially and not in terms of growth,” community activist Christopher Berry said.

Berry grew up in a diverse Macon neighborhood and says he still sees too many liquor stores in that area. He says he’s relieved to see Macon-Bibb County addressing the issue of having too many liquor stores and pawnbrokers.

“We need some kind of moratorium,” he said. “We need to promote the idea that businesses of all types need to reside in communities of color rather than liquor stores and pawnshops,” Berry explained.

Mayor Lester Miller and the county commission met and discussed putting a cap on the number of liquor licenses and pawnbrokers allowed per county district.

District 2 Commissioner Paul Brunson says he supports putting a cap on these types of businesses. Bibb County currently has more than 50 liquor stores–about six per county district. Bronson says these businesses have negative impacts on the community.

“They have a streamline of effects from poverty, down to education, and so forth. A 9-year-old shouldn’t be able to walk into a liquor store,” Bronson stated.

Commissioners hope to ultimately reduce the number of liquor stores and pawnbrokers to three per district by putting a cap on the number of approved licenses. The idea would grandfather in existing businesses pending evaluations.

“It allows the opportunity to review existing contracts and make decisions based on the new amendment,” Bronson explained. “We hope to address concerns in targeted areas like Houston Avenue, East Macon, and so forth.”

Commissioners will discuss this topic in the next commission meeting, on Tuesday, January 19. The mayor hopes to use a six-month period to decide if limiting approved licenses helps.

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Peyton Lewis is a 20-year-old reporter from Stockbridge, Georgia. She graduated in December of 2019 with her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the University of Georgia. She found a love for reporting after receiving a video camera for her 8th birthday. She and her friends would make mock newscasts in her backyard other creative content. Peyton's love for writing and creating videos pushed her to pursue journalism. In order to kick-start her dream of being a reporter, she left the traditional high school experience at the age of 16 to attend Gordon State College as a full-time student. She graduated with her Associate's degree two weeks before graduating from high school. Previously, Peyton worked as a news intern for 11 Alive in Atlanta, a radio intern for the Joy FM, and a reporter/ technical manager for Grady Newsource. Peyton dreams to become an investigative reporter that leaves a lasting impact on the world around her. She loves Disney, dogs, spicy food, musicals, and her family. Peyton also enjoys reading, watching movies, cheering on the Dawgs, and going on new adventures.