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Unicoi board holds off on liquor store decisions

May 21st, 2013 10:10 am by Brad Hicks

Unicoi board holds off on liquor store decisions


UNICOI — The town of Unicoi’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen needs a little more time before it votes on a pair of retail liquor store applications, as several aldermen had not yet viewed the applications.


At its regular meeting on Monday, the board was set to consider the retail liquor store applications of Stacey Collins and Jerry Vance. On May 13, the town’s Planning Commission recommended approval of both of the applications. 


Mayor Johnny Lynch and Vice Mayor Doug Hopson also serve on the Planning Commission, and have already reviewed the applications previously submitted by Collins and Vance. However, the other three members of the town’s board had not had an opportunity to review the applications prior to Monday’s meeting. 


“I certainly trust the Planning Commission, but you’re asking me to approve something I haven’t seen,” Alderman Mark Ramsey said. “I’d like to look at it.”


The board voted to table its consideration of the applications, and it will instead consider them at a called meeting on May 30, at which the board will also discuss its 2013-14 fiscal year budget.


Collins was the first person to submit an application to the town and, according to her application, she wants to locate her store, which she intends to call Unicoi Wine and Spirits, in existing commercial space at 100 Rocky Bottom Drive near the Unicoi Walmart.


Vance wants to construct a store, which he plans on calling Maple Grove Wines and Liquor, on property next to the Maple Grove Restaurant, which Vance also owns. 


A referendum to allow package stores within the town’s limits passed by a majority vote in the November general election. The Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved the final reading of an ordinance to permit the establishment of the stores within the town’s limits in January, and the town began allowing people interested in opening stores to pick up applications in February. 


The board also approved the first reading of an ordinance to regulate rebuilding and/or removal of deteriorated or burned-out buildings within the town’s limits. According to the ordinance, if a structure becomes deteriorated or burned out to the point it is uninhabitable or unusable, the property owner has 90 days from that point to submit a report to the town including details on how they plan to rebuild or remove the structure, insurance information and other information. 


If the property owner needs more time to address the matter than the time frame spelled out in their report, they will need to advise the town’s Planning Commission of this and keep the planning commission apprised of their progress. 


According to the ordinance as it currently stands, failure by the property owner to comply with ordinance or complete the plan in their report, after issuing a notice, the town would remediate the property. The property owner would be responsible for the costs of the town’s remediation. 


The board voted to amend the ordinance to include language stating that the town will provide its detailed remediation plan to the property owner before undertaking any such measures. 


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