ROGERSVILLE — Rogersville leaders got their first look Tuesday at separate proposed ordinances for liquor by the drink (LBD), as well as for package store licenses, which might have more applicants than available licenses.
Both proposals were drafted by City Attorney Bill Phillips using examples from other cities. The package store proposal has a two license limit, but the final number will be decided by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.
If the BMA approves Philips’ suggested two license limit, there will be competition for those two licenses because three people attending Tuesday’s BMA meeting said they’re interested in opening a package store in Rogersville.
Board members will study both proposed ordinances and meet again in special session Nov. 29 at 5 p.m. to discuss their ideas for the final proposals.
Assuming the ordinances are approved on first reading at the December meeting, licenses likely wouldn’t be implemented until March. There would be a required second and third reading in January and February, followed by an application process, which would take about a month.
Phillips said the BMA will not only have to decide whether it believes two licenses are enough for the city, but also if will it have a lottery for those licenses or let the to-be-established Rogersville Alcoholic Beverage Board hand out the licenses at its discretion.
The proposed ordinance that applies to LBD was only two pages long, but the package store ordinance was much longer — a full 11 pages.
“The reason is, we have a little more control over (package stores) than liquor by the drink,” Phillips said. “Liquor by the drink is almost exclusively under the control of the Alcoholic Beverage Commission of the state. Liquor stores are as well with the exception that we have the authority to say where they can be, we have an inspection fee for liquor stores, and there will also be a tax on the wholesale sale of alcoholic beverages from the wholesaler to the retailer.”
Phillips added, “Over the next three months, which is what it will take to implement these ordinances and get them passed, the BMA needs to come up with a list of criteria that the Alcoholic Beverage Board will look at to determine who should be allowed to have a license within the town of Rogersville.”
The package store location restrictions as listed in Phillips’ proposal would be the same as for beer sales — limited to a B-1 business zone and at least 250 feet from any hospital, school, church or public park.
Rogersville voters approved liquor by the drink and package stores in a referendum that occurred as part of the Nov. 6 election. Both votes were very close. LBD was approved by seven votes, 708-701; and package stores were approved 707-663.