Measure to Bring Grocery Stores Closer to College Neighborhoods Passes Senate

ATLANTA (March 28, 2013) – Legislation that will allow grocery stores to operate within closer proximity to college campuses passed the Georgia State Senate today by a vote of 32 to 19. House Bill 517 was carried in the Senate by Sen. Frank Ginn (R – Danielsville) and sponsored in the House by Rep. Chuck Williams (R – Watkinsville).

“House Bill 517 will greatly assist communities looking to create a more pedestrian-friendly environment, especially those centered around college campuses. The legislation is meant to give local governments autonomy over whether this type of economic development opportunity is right for their community, under the right circumstances. I applaud the Senate’s efforts to ensure this industry has the potential to grow and thrive in all types of neighborhoods,” said Sen. Ginn.

“I am most pleased that HB 517 received its final legislative approval today.  This legislation simply gives local governments the ability to determine the appropriate separation distance between college campuses and grocery stores that sell malt beverages and wine.  Local governments are best able to make such determinations. It is my hope that this legislation will assist Athens and other communities attract in-town grocery stores.  Such stores will be an economic development driver, and will provide more choices for in-town residents seeking a convenient shopping opportunity for groceries,” said Rep. Williams.

HB 517 gives local governments permission to decide if grocery stores within 100 yards of a college campus may be permitted to sell wine or malt beverages. Under current law, this restriction has barred many grocery stores from opening new neighborhoods. Any such grocery store must have at least 85 percent of retail space reserved for food and non-alcoholic beverages, and all alcohol sales must happen inside the store.

HB 517 bill will now be sent to the Governor’s desk for approval.

For Immediate Release:
March 28, 2013

For Information Contact:
Jennifer Yarber, Interim Director
Kate Greer, Broadcast Specialist