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BMA considers specific zoning for liquor stores

Less than a week after Jonesborough residents voted to allow liquor stores in town, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen was expected to consider creating specific zoning to limit where such package stores can go and how many will be welcome.
At Monday night’s BMA meeting, officials received a proposal from Town Administrator Bob Browning to establish a Retail Liquor Store Overlay Zone. The zone would limit liquor stores to two specific districts, both of which border Highway 11-E.
According to the proposal, RLS Overlay District 1 would stretch along Highway 11-E approximately from its intersection with Smith Lane moving west to the intersection at Persimmon Ridge Road. RLS Overlay District 2 would include areas off Highway 11-E adjacent to Headtown Road and along Old Boones Creek Road just past Hillrise Drive.
The issue of how many liquor stores will be allowed in Jonesborough is also something for the BMA to decide.
According to Browning, many communities determine the number of liquor stores based on the population of the city. Johnson City reportedly permits one store per every 5,500 residents.
Browning recommended allowing two liquor stores in Jonesborough, one per each RLS overlay district. He suggested being conservative in choosing how many to allow, noting the number could always be increased if members of the BMA felt it necessary down the road.
Allowing two liquor stores would amount to approximately one store per every 3,000 residents. Although Jonesborough is a relatively small town, Browning said he expected a good portion of the customer base for such stores to come from people living in the surrounding areas of Washington County as well as those traveling through to the Greeneville area.
If all goes as proposed by Browning, a liquor store wouldn’t be open in Jonesborough until spring of 2011. Applications to open a liquor store in Jonesborough would not be accepted until January 2011, according to Browning’s recommendation. The Town Recorder would then review the application before passing it on to the Planning Commission, which would address the application at its February 2011 meeting in order to make a recommendation to the BMA at its March 2011 meeting.
The proposed ordinance has to be passed on two readings, with a public hearing taking place between the two readings.
“We’re going to be very deliberate about this process and do whatever is in the best interest of the people of Jonesborough while keeping safety in mind,” Mayor Kelly Wolfe said. “We have great discretion in how to approach it. Our intention would be to limit them to where they have minimal impact.”