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FBMA postpones liquor store vote

Members of the Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen postponed approving a proposed liquor store ordinance amendment during the regular meeting Feb. 8, citing a need to add new provisions to the ordinance.

In a previous meeting, Board members directed town staff to develop an amendment to the ordinance that would allow five liquor stores in the town with an increase of one store per every additional 5,000 residents as the town grows. These stores would be restricted to be 340 feet building-to-building away from schools, churches, parks, mortuaries and platted subdivisions. The ordinance would allow liquor stores to not be any less than 1,500 feet away from each other.

When Board members had the ordinance in front of them, however, other concerns began to surface. Concerns grew over how would the town go about certifying the owners of potential liquor stores as being capable of running a successful business and what would happen should the owner of a permitted liquor store decide to move locations.

Town attorney Tom Hale suggested, if Board members wanted to, a type of questionnaire could be required of any potential liquor store applicants to see if they have sufficient background to run such a business.

Mayor W. Edward “Eddy” Ford III posed the question to FBMA members: that if an applicant gets a certificate of compliance for such a store and decided to move, what would happen? Would they be able to move the certificate to any location, or would those certificates be tied to a specific location?

“It seems to me since we have a specific number of stores, they would have to apply to this body to change location,” Hale said.

“Why should we allow people to move around without opening the door to competition,” said Vice Mayor Mike Haynes.

Alderman Joel Garber suggested a provision be added that if an applicant changes location, applications to put a liquor store in town should be open to all. If an applicant just sells an existing location, no outside liquor store applicants should be allowed.

Then Board members discussed what happens if a liquor store owner dies. Should the certificate remain with the owner’s heirs or would the town open the field to competitors?

Hale said he would have a difficult time with opening the field for competition if a hard-working owner were to die and pass the store to his or her heirs.

Board members directed Hale to look into the process and see how the state Alcoholic Beverage Commission handles transfer.


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