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Liquor store referendum will be on November ballot for Jonesborough voters

Voters will soon decide if a liquor store will be a welcome sight in Jonesborough.
At a meeting of the Washington County Election Commission last week, commissioners unanimously approved the request for a referendum to be placed on the November General Election ballot that will put the decision in the hands of town voters.
Linda Carter, of Jonesborough, garnered more than the required 153 signatures on a petition to request the holding of a “local option election” to authorize a retail package store to sell alcoholic beverages within Jonesborough.
She turned in the petition earlier this month, well ahead of the September deadline.
Carter and her husband, James, were at Wednesday’s Election Commission meeting to hear whether the request would be approved.
The couple believes opening a liquor store would be “a good business opportunity,” James said.
“We need one (in Jonesborough). It’s better than driving all the way into Johnson City just to get a bottle of wine or spirits,” James said. “So far, everybody we’ve talked to has been for it. There’s been very few against it.”
The Carters had hoped to have voters’ approval to open the store after the November 2008 General Election, however, they were four days late turning in the petition in order to get the referendum on the ballot that year.
“We were very unhappy about missing it (in 2008),” James said. “We were just out getting extra signatures in case we needed them and we missed it.”
The Carters, who have lived in Jonesborough for 17 years, said they plan to open up shop as soon as they get approval to do so.
As far as the location of the store, James said they have looked at a few buildings in different locations, including property in the Ingle’s plaza on West Jackson Boulevard.
Kyle Humphreys made the motion at Wednesday’s meeting to put the referendum on the November ballot. It was seconded by Robert Rankin before receiving unanimous approval.
When contacted on Friday, Jonesborough Mayor Kelly Wolfe said he planned on “staying completely out of the issue.”
“I’ll have as much to say about whether or not we have a liquor store in Jonesborough as any other voter,” he said. “If the voters want a liquor store in Jonesborough, then they’ll let us know that in November.”
Wolfe went on to say he would be studying up on what, if any, jurisdiction the Town has regarding the location of a liquor store in Jonesborough so that the Board of Mayor and Alderman can be aware of any responsibilities it has regarding package stores in town.
“I plan on asking our town attorney to guide us through this if we do have passage of it,” Wolfe said.