ROY -- Smoke shops will no longer be able to obtain Class A beer licenses in Roy, and stores that don't sell at least $1,200 in groceries per week won't be getting a beer license, either.
The city council voted 3-1 to make the sweeping change to its beer licensing this week. Councilman Dave Tafoya voted against the measure, and Councilman Willard Cragun abstained from the vote.
While the change is effective immediately, stores will not have to comply until each individual store is up for license renewal.
The council has discussed the issue for several months.
"I can go to any grocery store and buy smokes and buy my beer and I am good to go. I am confused why we are bringing this up again," Tafoya said.
Before the change, the city only granted licenses as a conditional use. Tafoya said that was sufficient. "We can control it with that."
If police are suspicious that convenience stores are selling to minors, that can be brought to the council before the license is renewed, Tafoya said.
"For me, it's kind of silly," Tafoya said of the change.
Other council members defended the decision.
"This really is about business development," said Councilman Michael Stokes.
The city has been trying to improve its business image, and he said this is a step in the right direction.
"It has nothing to do with the product being sold. It's a business development thing," Stokes said. "There is no disputing that our business area sucks. It's going downhill. ... We just don't want to see a cluster of those types of businesses."
The grocery sales requirements have been in the ordinance for several years, but the council raised the amounts to match the current economy.
As resident Niven Turner spoke to the council about his dismay over the issue, he pointed to the audience.
"I brought some of the element here today. They all have jobs, families. Some are grandmas, some have pets, some of them smoke, and we all drink beer," Turner said.
He argued that contributing members of society can still drink beer and be good citizens of Roy. Turner said he has talked to several residents to see what they think about the changes to the beer licensing.
"They think we have a little clique running our town," Turner said. "I think what you are doing is a blatant patronization of the LDS community and it is an insult to them."
Stokes denied the claim, saying, "This has nothing to do with religion."
The city has been looking at communities outside of the state that have made similar changes, and none of those changes were based on religion either, Stokes said.
Councilman Larry Peterson said the council wants people to be able to buy beer whenever they want to in the city. "We want to meet all the needs of the people in Roy."
Turner told the council he didn't believe what members had to say and that residents had better watch the council more closely.
"Come back in a year and I will make a prediction that not much is going to change," Stokes said regarding the ability to buy beer in convenience stores.