Mary E. Hinds News Herald
The Loudon County
Economic Development Agency’s (LCEDA) plan to sell .63 acres at
Centre 75 to Johnny James for his 72 Wine and Spirits liquor
store has hit a snag.
Both the Loudon County Commission and the City of Loudon passed
resolutions approving the sale of the property, but now it seems
the business will require .67 acres, necessitating the sale
again be approved at the new size or the plan receive a variance
from Loudon zoning laws.
In a brief, special-called meeting Tuesday, March 23, the Loudon
City Council approved the sale of .63 acres located in Centre 75
Business Park to J&L properties. Lynn Mills, Loudon city
manager, said the approved land transfer was to a company owned
by James, winner of one of two Certificates of Compliance
awarded applicants for a Loudon liquor store.
At Thursday’s meeting of the LCEDA, Loudon County Mayor Doyle
Arp broached the subject of the size change. He said he could
not sign off on a bill of sale for .67 acres when the sale was
passed by the county commission and by the Loudon City Council
at .63 acres. Agency President Pat Phillips acknowledged the
problem saying the plan would need an additional five feet of
Speaking after the meeting Phillips explained the extra footage
was to meet zoning requirements. “They need a little wider lot
to meet the set back,” he said. This would necessitate the sale
getting another round of approvals at .67 acres. “Unless he
comes in for a variance of five feet or so, then we go with the
.63 acres,” Phillips said. Such a variance would have to be
approved by the Loudon Board of Zoning Appeals.
At Thursday’s LCEDA meeting Phillips said he wasn’t sure the
property would meet the variance criteria for a hardship. He
also noted the liquor store had yet to submit a site plan.
The property has been a subject of controversy since last
November when the county passed a referendum to allow liquor
stores. Since the City of Loudon is the only city in the county
large enough to qualify for liquor stores under state law, the
decision of who would receive the two available Certificates of
Compliance has been hotly contested.
One store is set to be located on Grove Street in Loudon while
other vied for the property in Centre 75. The LCEDA did not
award an option on the property, but recommended the city and
county sell it to the winner of the Certificate of Compliance.
James was awarded the certificate and now must apply to the
state for an ABC Liquor License. Earlier this month, James
indicated he would go to the LCEDA for the title to the property
then apply for the state license.
The sale of the .63 acres for the liquor store was approved by
the county commission and last Tuesday night by the City of
Loudon. The LCEDA board recommended, baring a variance, that the
sale of the property at .67 acres be once again voted on by the
county commission and by the Loudon City Council. Mills reminded
the board that the store must be in operation within six months
of receiving the Certificate of Compliance, which was granted to
James on March 16.