By Meg Dickens
The Town of Mountain City has been discussing alcohol regulations since the sale of these products became legal within town limits. Most conversation has focused on regular retail sales, but now questions regarding liquor by the drink have come to light. Because of this, fine details about this process have had to be set in stone.
The detail specifically focused on at the most recent City Council meeting was required distances between certain types of organizations and those that sell liquor by the drink. As many know, the Community Church of Mountain City will be opening its doors in the old Fred’s building to increase its space. The city’s previous ordinance had required distance listed as 300 to 500 feet, where a specific number should be listed. That number and its effect on current and future organizations was the main topic.
Church representatives again came to the meeting to voice their concerns. Instead of doubling down on regulations, those involved wanted the ability to “waive the right” if something new were to move into the Pioneer Village Shopping Center, as the ruling is specifically for church and school protections.
“We don’t want to impede the existing businesses or the potential future businesses that could come into the shopping center just because we’re moving into that location,” church officials reiterated. “It’s meant to protect us, so shouldn’t we have the right to waive it?”
City Council members and City Attorney George Wright expressed concern about allowing this but did not outright say they would not do so. An official decision will most likely hinge on a situation later on that is within the decided distance.
The City Council considered a few more details when finalizing an official distance. For example, if one of the pre-existing restaurants would apply for a liquor by the drink license. City officials appeared certain that Poblano’s Mexican Grill would eventually want this and took this possibility into account when discussing the official distance required. After discussing this case study along with the previous foot span, officials decided to change the ordinance to state the space must be a minimum of 250 feet from each establishment’s main door to the other’s.
The Mountain City Council meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 6:30 pm at City Hall. For more information, visit mountaincitytn.org.