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DENIED: Munchie’s rezoning for beer sales

Despite arguments for the economic benefit of the county, commissioners denied business owner Mike Pierce’s request for a rezoning that would allow Munchie’s Country Store and Kitchen, 219 Fordtown Road, Fall Branch, to apply for an off-premise beer permit.
Pierce told commissioners during their May meeting the store he owns with his wife is the only location for diesel fuel within 8 miles, and there is no place to buy beer within the same radius.
As a result, Pierce said people are driving to Greene and Sullivan counties to purchase beer.
“We could keep those dollars in Washington County, and help keep my store economically feasible in the winter months,” he said, presenting a petition in support of his request.
Several residents of Fordtown Road were also at the meeting with their own petition opposing the request.
Linda Wallen, who has lived in Fall Branch for 13 years, said the store is 231 feet from her house and expressed concern for accidents at the intersection.
“People who buy beer tend to go back and buy more,” she said, adding that the rezoning would not be restricted to alcohol sales. “We could get a chop shop.”
Starlet Joyner, a 26-year-resident of Fall Branch wants it to stay a community without beer sales.
“People would be less likely to go back out for more beer if they had to drive 8 miles,” she said.
Barbara Roberts, another Fordtown Road resident at the meeting, said her grandson will begin driving this year, and she doesn’t want beer sold in front of her house.
Troy Ebbert, of the Zoning Department, said the proposed rezoning is from A1 to B3. Zoning staff recommended the request be denied because the property is surrounded by single family residential.
“The permitted uses in a B-3 district will be obtrusive to the surrounding land use and zoning classifications,” the recommendation for denial states.
Several uses are permitted in a B-3 zone, including wholesale business, warehouses, truck terminals, automobile sales, mobile home sales, automobile service and repair establishments, automobile body shops, automobile and truck tire stores, public and private non-profit clubs, animal hospitals, veterinarian offices, bottling operations and bakeries, retail business, sales and display rooms, offices, restaurants and similar community services, personal business and professional services, public and semi-public buildings, commercial printing operations, financial institutions, places of amusement and assembly, grocery stores, drug stores, beauty shops, laundromats, gift shops, daycare centers and more.
“The Planning Commission’s recommendation (for denial) was on land use only,” he said. “This is a heavily residential area, and (Pierce’s) property is the commercial district in that area.”
Even with two recommendations for denial, the request still had to be considered by the county commission because it is the only body that can make zoning decisions.
Even if it had been rezoned, it appears the business would not be eligible to obtain a beer permit.
According to Commissioner Doyle Cloyd, the store would not qualify for consideration by the Beer Board because it is less than the minimum 300 feet from the nearest residence.