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Erwin board gives craft beer regs final thumbs up

Sue Guinn Legg • May 14, 2018 at 9:18 PM

ERWIN — New onsite alcohol consumption regulations designed to pave the way for craft brewers in Erwin are officially on the books.

The Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously approved the craft-friendly amendments to the town’s alcoholic beverage ordinance on final reading Monday at the close of a public hearing in which no spoke for or against the new regulations.

The Erwin Beverage Board, made up of Erwin’s mayor and five aldermen, initially approved the amendment in early April. Erwin Town Recorder Glenn Rosenoff told the Beverage Board at that time investors were looking at downtown Erwin for a brewery.

The town’s alcoholic beverage ordinances previously required businesses selling alcohol for onsite consumption to earn 60 percent of their gross sales from food service. The newly amended ordinance allows craft brewers to earn 80 percent of their gross sales for craft beer and 20 percent from other beers.

Town Attorney Thomas Seeley Jr. previously advised the board the amendment was reviewed by city attorney for Johnson City, which has more than a half-a-dozen breweries and taprooms doing business in its downtown district, and included all provisions that attorney considered important.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved the amendment on first reading on April 24. 

Alderwoman Rachelle Sturtz made the motion to approve the amendment on final reading on Monday. Alderman Virgil Moore seconded the motion. And with the mayor and all the aldermen present, the final reading approval passed by a vote of 6 to 0.

In other business Monday, the board approved a Ballad Health financing agreement that includes the $20 million cost of the new Unicoi County hospital.

Prior to the board’s approval of the agreement, Alderman Mark Lefever asked if the financing involved the town in any way other than it was taking place in Erwin. He was assured it does not.

Dwayne Taylor, market president for Ballad, said the agreement with the Health and Education Facilities Board of Greeneville, a municipal board through which the hospital system issues debt, was actually a consolidation of $1.16 billion in combined debt held by the former Mountain States and Wellmont health systems that was necessitated by the health systems’ merger.

The Ewin board on Monday also issued a proclamation honoring the Unicoi County High School Future Farmers of America and UCHS Agriculture Sciences teacher Lucas Anders for “outstanding work and tireless efforts” to beautify Erwin.

Anders told the board the high school now has three graduating classes with a vested interest in Erwin through the landscaping projects they have completed and the decorative trees, bushes and flowers they have planted throughout the town.

Mayor Doris Hensley said the students “do have ownership in Erwin and we thank them.”

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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