UNICOI — So far, two retail liquor store applications have been turned back in to the town of Unicoi and, this Monday, the town’s planning commission will consider both of these applications.
Applications have been submitted by Stacey Collins and Jerry Vance. Collins was the first to submit a retail liquor store application, and her application was discussed at last month’s meeting of the planning commission.
Collins wants to open her store, which she plans to call Unicoi Wine and Spirits, at 100 Rocky Bottom Drive, which is within the business strip near the Unicoi Walmart.
While Collins’ application met at that time a number of the regulations outlined in the town’s retail liquor store ordinance, the planning commission tabled its consideration of the application due to the application lacking several required items, including a background check on the store’s managers, letters of reference and details on the store’s business plan.
Unicoi Town Recorder Larry Rea said Collins submitted the requested documentation to the town after last month’s meeting.
The second application up for the commission’s consideration is one submitted to the town late last month by Jerry Vance. Vance is wanting to locate a package store, which he intends to call Maple Grove Wines and Liquor, on property adjacent to the Maple Grove Restaurant, which Vance also owns.
A referendum to allow package stores within the town limits of Unicoi passed by a majority vote in the Nov. 6 general election. In January, the Unicoi Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved the final reading of an ordinance to permit the establishment of such stores within the town’s limits and, in February, the town began allowing those interested in opening retail liquor stores to pick up applications.
Rea said that since that time, six people have taken out applications, with Collins and Vance being the only two to return them.
“It doesn’t look like we’re going to get any more because we haven’t even really had any phone calls with questions from anybody so, and I’m assuming this, that we’re not getting any more, at least for a while,” Rea said.
According to the town’s package store ordinance, stores must be located at least 200 feet from locations such as schools, churches, playgrounds, day-care centers, parks and residences. The stores must be a minimum of 1,800 square feet and are to have only one entrance for use by the public.
Three sub-district overlay zones in which package stores can be located were also established by the town. Per the town’s ordinance, only one can be located within each of these zones, and only two stores total can be located within the town’s limits.
The planning commission will meet at 5:30 p.m. at Unicoi Town Hall. If the group recommends approval of an application, it will subsequently be considered by the Unicoi Board of Mayor and Aldermen.