By Jill Penley
While Johnson County voters made their voices heard in November, voting “yes” to on-premise consumption and package stores, the process of passing an ordinance establishing requirements and regulations has been complicated and time-consuming.
Per George T. Wright, City Attorney, the second and final reading on both beer and liquor ordinances is set for the May 7 meeting of the Mountain City Mayor and Board of Aldermen meeting.
Prospective retail package store retailers would have to apply after the Town of Mountain City approves specific regulations regarding the retail sale of liquor, and if those are specifications are met, an Order of Compliance would be subsequently issued. At that point, an application can be made at the state level.
After a completed application for a retail store is received, the application must be placed on the agenda and approved by the TABC commission at a regular monthly commission meeting. Adherence to specific regulations is also required. For example, a retail store must be located on the ground floor with one main entrance opening on a public street with no other door or entrance for use by the public unless the store is located on the corner of two public streets. Under those circumstances, a retail store could have a door opening on each of the public streets.
Along with the repeal of Prohibition, the 21st Amendment of the United States Constitution gave individual states the right to control what parties can sell alcohol within the state, how the distribution of alcohol in the state would take place, and who would be able to possess alcohol within the state legally. States and even local jurisdictions have significant differences in who can legally sell, buy, and possess alcoholic beverages.
State law generally gives cities the authority to license and regulate the retail sale of intoxicating liquor once local option election results approve it. State statute regulates many aspects of local liquor licensing, though a local authority may, in some instances, supplement state statute with stricter standards via a local ordinance.
Additionally, retail stores are required to close on Christmas, Thanksgiving Day, and Easter. Hours of operation for retail package stores are also set.
Retail package store managers must hold a manager’s permit and employees of a retail store must be at least eighteen years old and must be certified clerks.
In addition to employee requirements, there are laws regarding ownership of retail package stores. For instance, an owner cannot hold any type of public office, or have any interest, either direct or indirect, in any other retail liquor store, wholesale license, or liquor by the drink license. There are stipulations for prospective retail package store owner with felonies. Under current legal scrutiny, is Tennessee’s residency requirement, which says one must reside in the state for a minimum of two years to obtain a retail liquor license and for at least ten years to get a license renewed.