Commissioners fine-tune package liquor store regs
Residency requirements, closing time, application process and building size were some of the categories city commissioners pinpointed in a workshop on regulating package liquor stores Monday night.
Commissioners continue to chart new ground and fine-tune regulations to govern the newly approved package liquor stores in the city. The workshop – which included members of the newly named Alcoholic Beverage Board – was scheduled to further work on an ordinance to amend Chapter 4 of the Mt. Juliet Municipal Code by establishing retail liquor regulations.
There has been a first reading and this is the second workshop on the issue with earlier instructions to acting city attorney Gino Marchetti to research what other cities do to regulate package liquor stores.
One key aspect of amending city laws to set guidelines dealt with residency requirements for store owners. Noting that owners should have a "vested" interest in the community, earlier commissioners agreed a potential store owner be a resident of Wilson County for five years or a resident of the city for two years. Marchetti reported state law requires an owner to be a resident of Tennessee for two years. Commissioners requested further research.
Commissioners decided to disallow LED signs for package liquor stores. Later at the city commission meeting they voted to put a moratorium on LED signs city-wide until some issues related to misuse of the signs are corrected.
Another sticking point related to regulating package liquor stores was the closing time.
On first reading commissioners voted mandating the stores close at 9 p.m. But, they learned they could not regulate this aspect and had to follow state law, which states liquor stores be open six days a week and close at 11 p.m.
"This was just a public safety issue for me," said Vice Mayor James Maness.
District 4 City Commissioner Jim Bradshaw said "other stores are regulated by our close times."
After much discussion, commissioners agreed there would be a 60-day time frame from the time an application is received to acceptance or rejection of that application. After the ordinance is approved on second reading prospective owners will have 10 days to submit an application.
A copy of a potential application was made available to commissioners. According to this application, applicants will be assessed on a 250 point system. The categories are location; building size; financial ability of applicant; operations plan and overall fitness of the applicant.
Commissioners agreed that the minimum size of a liquor store should no less than 3,000 square feet and no more than 10,000 square feet."
Another regulation is limiting the number of retailers to one liquor license for each 8,000 residents. About 25,000 residents live in Mt. Juliet.
With commissioners limited to approving three liquor stores, the five-member ABB will rate all applications on the 250 point system and recommend applicants to the commission. Commissioners will then approve applicants.
Managing Editor Laurie Everett can be reached at 754-6397 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org