Selma might create downtown ‘social district’ | The Johnstonian News
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Selma might create downtown ‘social district’

Posted on May 8, 2022

Updated on May 14, 2022

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Downtown Selma shoppers could one day carry their alcoholic drinks in and out of stores.

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Downtown Selma shoppers could one day carry their alcoholic drinks in and out of stores.

sbolejack@johnstoniannews.com | 919-424-1776

SELMA — The town is becoming more alcohol-friendly.

Earlier this year, the Town Council allowed grocers, convenience stores and restaurants to sell alcohol as early as 10 a.m. on Sundays.

Next, the council might allow downtown visitors to take drinks from bars and restaurants into neighboring shops. A proposed ordinance would create a “social district” downtown, allowing open containers of alcohol on streets and sidewalks.

“It seems to be a trend that’s growing across the state,” Town Manager Brent Taylor told the council in April. “There are other municipalities that are doing it, and it just makes Selma more receptive socially.”

At the moment, The Alley bar is the lone downtown establishment that could take advantage of the social district, Taylor noted. “And that’s if they want to,” he said. “They may not want to.”

But The Alley could soon have company, so perhaps now’s the time to consider creating a social district, Taylor said. “Given some of the plans that may be happening, like at the old town hall, we will have this already established, and they can go ahead and take advantage of that,” he said.

Together, Taylor and Town Attorney Chip Hewett researched and crafted Selma’s proposed ordinance. Among other things, it would require bars and restaurants to put their carryout beverages in specially marked containers of no more than 16 ounces. And downtown shops would not have to allow alcoholic drinks if they did not want to.

“There are regulations as to how it’s used and disposed of, and if there is a business that does not want it inside the business, you don’t have to participate,” Hewett said.

The Town Council said it would study the proposed ordinance before acting.

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