Officials in Pikeville, Tenn., will have their third reading on a new ordinance Monday that will open applications for package stores to anyone who can qualify under Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission rules.
Leaders in the Bledsoe County seat initially planned to limit the number of package store applicants to two through a lottery for all applicants, Pikeville Mayor Philip Cagle said.
"We couldn't get a good, clear opinion on a drawing on whether that was legal or not," Cagle said. "We decided to just lift that limit and open it up."
Alderman Ray Evans said he didn't think the new ordinance would make a significant difference in whether liquor stores were limited.
"We don't know how many people will want to apply to the ABC for licenses," Evans said. "I think there'll be two or three, but I don't know for sure."
Evans and Cagle said the laws of supply and demand will dictate how many stores can be operated in the small town of about 1,600.
The issue came up after Pikeville voters passed two liquor referendums in November 2012. Liquor by the drink passed 260 to 241, and package sales were favored 286 to 211, records show. City voters rejected the same referendums a couple of years ago.
The mayor said he believed interested parties were looking at locations on Main Street.
"I'm hearing there's two that are going through with some paperwork," Cagle said Friday.
"Definitely, supply and demand is going to keep it to no more than two anyway," he predicted.
Contact staff writer Ben Benton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6569. Subscribe to his Facebook posts at facebook.com/ben.benton1 and follow him at twitter.com/BenBenton on Twitter.
Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...