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Officials unanimously pass liquor ordinance

The town of Unicoi Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously approved an ordinance that permits the establishment of retail liquor stores within town limits at a meeting on Jan. 22.
Town voters passed the referendum for retail liquor stores during the November election and the Unicoi County Election Commission certified the result, which was a total of 846 to permit and 695 not to permit.
Provisions in the ordinance include but are not limited to permitted zones, application procedures and fees, building specifications and total number of stores in the town.
The ordinance limits the placement of retail liquor stores to zones B3, B4 and PBD (planned business districts). One retail liquor store is allowed per zone and a total of two stores are permitted within town limits.
Stores must also be “at least 200 feet from the nearest front entrance of any church, public or private school, day care center, playground or park, recreational facility or residential buildings,” the ordinance states.
Operating hours were also addressed in the ordinance. “No retailer shall sell or give away or otherwise dispense any alcoholic beverages except between the hours of 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. on Monday through Saturday, but not the holidays specified below,” the ordinance states. “No retailer shall sell or give away alcoholic beverages between 11 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. on Monday each week.”
Holidays specified in the ordinance are Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Independence Day and Labor Day.
Restrictions apply to persons who hold a public office and public employees in ownership or participation in opening a retail package store, the ordinance states.
The passage of the retail liquor store ordinance was unanimous on its second and final reading with the motion to approve made by Alderman Mark Ramsey and seconded by Alderman Dwight Bennett.

For the remainder of this article please see the January 29, 2013 edition of The Erwin Record.