At developer's request, Gatlinburg votes to ease liquor requirement

Sep. 20, 2013 @ 11:03 PM

The city commission voted Tuesday to approve first reading of changes to a distance requirement that would allow a restaurant selling liquor by the drink to locate much closer to a school in its C-1 commercial district, possibly paving the way for a restaurant selling liquor to locate within 150 feet of Pi Beta Phi Elementary.

The measure would reduce the distance requirement in that zone from its current level of 300 feet to 150 feet. Commission must still approve it again on second reading before it takes effect.

Develeoper Bob Bentz, who is negotiating with the Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women to buy property adjacent to the school, confirmed Thursday he asked the city to consider the change.

The distance requirement in the city’s C-2 commercial district is considerably lower, he said, and he asked the city to consider a lower requirement for the C-1 zone. “I talked to the city about the disparity between the two districts,” he said. “The distance requirement for C-2 districts is so much lower, so I asked them to consider bringing it down in the C-1 districts,” Bentz said.

The measure would allow him to have a restaurant that sells liquor by the drink on the property he’s looking to buy from the fraternity, which is the current home of Arrowont School of Arts and Crafts. Bentz has agreed to mediation with representatives of the fraternity and Arrowmont, as well as the city and county. While he couldn’t comment on specifics of the negotiations due to a confidentiality agreement, he said they appear to be going well overall, and they’ve allowed him to start making more specific plans for the site.

Look for more details about his potential plans in a future edition of The Mountain Press.

Other actions taken by the commission Tuesday included:

  • Second reading of amendments to the storm water ordinance
  • Second reading of the tax rate, which remained stable
  • Second reading of amendments to the city’s occupational safety and health program
  • Contract for services with Helen Ross McNabb Center
  • Certificates of good moral character for Nicholas Taylor Ogle and Jacob Lonas Ogle, doing business as Sugarland Cellars Inc. at 1133 Parkway
  • Change order and amendment to engineering services agreement for construction of a new equalization basin at the wastewater treatment plant
  • Engineering services agreement with McGill Associates on the Newman Road lift station rehabilitation project
  • Resolution adopting the state of Tennessee 457 (b) deferred compensation plan and trust and approving the employer agreement
  • Contract for security services at the convention center with Red Hawk Security
  • Beverage agreement with Coca-Cola
  • License agreement with BS&J Enterprises for the placement of a Winterfest display at intersection of Glades Road and Highway 321

n jfarrell@themountainpress.com