|Liquor store referendum passes in Loudon County and
fails in Lenoir City. What exactly does that mean? I will try to
So where can liquor stores go now? Short answer, the city of Loudon only. The state law allows for a county to hold a liquor store referendum provided that if it passes, liquor stores can only operate in a municipality/city or a county district of 30,000 or more residents. Of course Loudon County has no districts even close to 30,000 in population.
Why Loudon and not Lenoir City? State law provides that a city with the population equal to or greater than the population of the smallest county in the state is required to hold their own referendum on the question of liquor stores. Thus, Moore County has the smallest population in the state with a population of 5740 as of the 2000 federal census. So the city of Lenoir City, pop. 6819, with a population greater than Moore County must hold it's own referendum and is not impacted by the outcome of the county referendum. On the other hand, Loudon, pop. 4476, has a lesser population than Moore County. Thus, Loudon can not hold their own liquor store referendum and are subjected to the outcome of the county referendum.
What about Philadelphia and Greenback? State law also prohibits a city with a population of less than 1000 from holding a liquor store referendum or allowing liquor stores within their municipal boundaries. Since neither Greenback, pop. 954 nor Philadelphia, pop. 533, would be allowed to have a liquor store. Population totals based on 2000 federal censes.
So the passage of the county referendum will now allow liquor stores in the city of Loudon. Ironically, the voters in the city of Loudon voted not to permit liquor stores. The Loudon City Council can determine how many liquor stores may locate in their city.
It would have been nice to have defeated the referendum in both the county and Lenoir City. But a partial victory is better than no victory at all. I'm sure those who have worked so hard to bring in liquor stores will be back in a couple of years. So will we.
A look at the precinct by precinct break down of who supported the liquor store referendum is interesting and surprising.
I would like to personally thank everyone who worked to get the word out and who voted not to permit liquor stores in Lenoir City. If you have one of the "Vote Not To Permit" signs in your yard, hang on to it. I'm sure we will need them again.