I am writing in regard to the recent debate by the Columbia County School Board consideration of granting a waiver to Rhineharts Oyster Bars request for a liquor license. It appalls me that the board would even be considering granting a waiver for an establishment that serves alcohol in such close proximity of Bel Air Elementary School.
I have personally spoken in opposition to their granting this waiver on the basis of safety and the fact that 244 neighbors of this proposed establishment do not want it in this location. The School Board has seemed to lean toward approving the waiver, even though the community does not want it and the fact that they are officials elected to serve the interest of the Columbia County students, and not the interests of a bar/restaurant.
After sitting through two of these meetings, it appears that some of these officials have agendas other than the interests of the students or the constituents who elected them. Based on recent actions of a certain member of the board, I would say there is confusion over what is a conflict of interest and what is not.
I was amazed at the last meeting when the chairman stated he was confused over what the ordinance said, and even the School Board attorney appeared confused. Remember now, this was at least the third meeting on the subject, and until Glennwood Association started a petition, the school board was ready to vote on approval two meetings ago.
Now, on Tuesday, the Board has called a special session to deal with this matter. It will be interesting to see what their agendas are. Will it be for the students? Or will it be some hidden agenda?
(Glenn Palmer is president of the Glennwood Association Inc.)
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