County Beer Board Delays Action on Potentially Controversial Permit Application

September 2, 2011
Dwayne Page
Jewel Redmon Addressing Beer Board (seated Dick Knowles and Mack Harney)
Beer Board members Jim Stagi, Frank Thomas, Harrell Tolbert
Beer Board members Mack Harney, Robert Rowe, Edward Frazier

Jewel Redmon will have to wait another month before he knows whether he will be able to sell beer at the old Pop's Market location on Cookeville Highway, a vacant store building he bought several weeks ago and has been refurbishing.

The DeKalb County Beer Board met Thursday night to consider the beer application, filed in the name of Viva Gail Johnson for the business to be known as Jewel's Market and Pizza, but the board deferred action until October 6th after discovering an error in the public notice published in a local newspaper. The address of the store building is 600 North Congress Boulevard. The address published in the notice was 7592 McMinnville Highway. A new public notice will be published giving the accurate address and the date, time and place of the next meeting.

DeKalb County has a rule forbidding the sale, storage and manufacture of beer and like beverages within 2,000 feet (or some lesser distance) of schools, churches, and other places of public gathering.

The problem in this case is that Redmon's store may be too close to the new First Assembly of God Church which was recently constructed on Highway 56 north.

According to Redmon, the store building is seventy feet short of meeting the distance requirements, measuring "as the crow flies" but he said it is in compliance if the measurement is taken by way of the highway.

Redmon said he believes the property ought to be grand fathered since the store building had long been there before the church and because of the fact that the former owner of the store had a beer license. The business, however, has been closed for several months and the license of the former owner has since expired. Redmon claims the board should take into consideration that the store property was tied up in bank foreclosure proceedings involving the former owner and no one could have bought the store and sold beer during that time. Redmon believes he should not be penalized because of that situation.

Redmon further claims that he has improved the value of the property and that even his closest neighbors to the store location don't object to his selling beer

And as for the distance requirement, Redmon pointed out that another store across the road (Village Market) is licensed to sell beer and that business is even closer to the church than his establishment. Beer board members explained that Village Market is in the city and Smithville has different distance regulations than the county.

Board members voted to ask county attorney Hilton Conger to render a legal opinion on this license application at the next meeting, which will be held on Thursday, October 6 at 7:00 p.m. in the basement courtroom of the courthouse.

Members of the DeKalb County Beer Board are Harrell Tolbert, Frank Thomas, Dick Knowles, Jim Stagi, Mack Harney, Robert Rowe, and Edward Frazier.

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