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Should Unicoi County and Erwin voters approve liquor by the drink?

Staff Report • Apr 16, 2012 at 6:17 AM

A local resident is pushing for passage of liquor by the drink in Unicoi County. John Day, spokesman for the Unicoi County Citizens for Good Governance, is circulating two petitions — one for residents of Unicoi County, and another for citizens living inside the Town of Erwin — asking for liquor by the drink referendums to be placed on the ballot in n November.

If Day is successful and voters approve the referendums, restaurants in Erwin and/or Unicoi County would be able to sell wine and liquor.

Day told Press Erwin Bureau Chief Brad Hicks last month he believes having liquor by the drink in the town and county limits will benefit all of Unicoi County, which he says is lo sing out on tax revenues going to Johnson City and Asheville, N.C., where liquor by the drink is allowed.

“We’ve got to open this little community up,” Day said. “There’s nothing wrong with having a drink with dinner.”

A number of local towns and cities have approved liquor by the drink measures in recent years, including Jonesborough, where retail sale of wine and liquor has also been approved. The town of Unicoi has had liquor by the drink within its limits since a referendum passed in 2006 by a 652 to 573 vote. Unicoi resident Charles Lynch, who was involved in the town’s successful efforts to get the referendum on the ballot, said liquor by the drink has not “created any problems” since it was passed.

There could be other liquor-related referendums on the ballot this fall. AA businessman in Elizabethton is asking voters there to place a measure on the ballot in November to allow for the retail sales of liquor and wine in the city.

Tell us what you think. Should voters in Unicoi County or Erwin approve liquor by the drink? Send your comments to Mailbag, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605-1717, or mailbag@johnsoncitypress.com. Please include your name, telephone number and address for verification. We will print your responses on the Opinion pages in the coming weeks.

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