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Ordinance amendment paves way for craft brewing in Erwin

Sue Guinn Legg • Updated Apr 9, 2018 at 9:31 PM

ERWIN — Craft brewing appears to be on its way to downtown Erwin.

Convened for a meeting of the Erwin Beverage Board on Monday, Mayor Doris Hensley and four of the town’s five aldermen approved an amendment to Erwin’s on-premises alcohol sales ordinance to “pave the way” for a craft brewer interested in doing business downtown.

Prior to the vote, Town Recorder Glenn Rosenoff said, “We have some folks who have been looking at Erwin, at downtown Erwin, for a brewery.”

According to Rosenoff, the town’s existing ordinances required businesses selling alcohol for onsite consumption to earn 60 percent of their gross sales from food service.

“Most of these types of places don’t have that. Some do. And some partner with food trucks,” he said.

As discussed by the board members and town staff in a recent planning retreat, Rosenof said a proposed amendment to the ordinance would allow craft brewers to earn 80 percent of their gross sales for craft beer and 20 percent from other beers.

“At retreat, we talked about bringing an amendment back to the Beverage Board and that’s what I’m doing,” Rosenoff said.

Town Attorney Thomas Seeley Jr. told the board he had reviewed the proposed amendment with Johnson City’s city attorney and felt confident that its provisions are what the Johnson City attorney considers important.

With that assurance from Seeley, Hensley made the motion to amend the ordinance. Vice Mayor Gary Chandler seconded the motion. And with Alderman Mark Lefever absent, the board unanimously approved the amendment by a voice vote with none opposed.

In a meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen held immediately prior to the Beverage Board meeting, the board members unanimously approved an $11,700 capital projects allocation for a engineering traffic study on Second Street.

Hensley said the study was proposed as a preliminary to the possible installation of traffic signal at the town-owned industrial site that has been requested by each of multiple investors who have expressed interest in the property.

In addition to the entrance to the 16-acre industrial site, Rosenoff said the study would encompass the intersection of North Industrial Drive and Second Street.

Chandler made the motion to approve the allocation and Alderman Virgil Moore seconded the motion, noting the North Industrial Drive intersection is prone to traffic congestion related to the McDonald’s and other popular food establishments in that area.

The board approved the traffic study funding in a 5-0 roll call vote.

Email Sue Guinn Legg at slegg@johnsoncitypress.com. Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.

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