The Transylvania Times -

By Mark Todd
Staff Writer 

County Alcohol Vote Won’t Happen This Year

 


There will be no referendum this year on the issue of the sale of beer and wine in the county.

That outcome is based on a decision Monday by members of the Transylvania County Commission.

A group of business owners and their friends who live outside of Brevard have been seeking a referendum and gathering names on a petition.

They say beer and wine sales will provide additional revenue to the county and promote more tourism.

As it is now, restaurants and country clubs must have special permits to sell beer and wine in Transylvania County.

The rule is antiquated, said Larry Gregory of Wilson Drive in Brevard.

He urged commissioners to have a referendum.

Visitors go back across the state line to South Carolina when they find they cannot purchase beer or wine in the county when they make a visit to DuPont State Recreational Forest, he said.

They buy beverages, groceries and gas out of state, and Transylvania County loses revenue, Gregory said.

Shirley Galloway, owner of Cedar Mountain Quick Stop, also supports a referendum.

“To me it is a double standard,” she said, noting that the same products can be purchased in South Carolina and Brevard.

She is so upset that she sends customers back to South Carolina and tells them to spend their money there and not in Brevard, she said.

Bryan Grosvenor has owned Key Falls Inn in the Pisgah Forest area since 1987.

His business is located 2.5 miles from the city and has no ability to sell beer and wine unless he puts in a tennis court and becomes a private club, he said.

“If the voters speak and they say no, you will never hear from me again,” he said about a possible referendum.

Commissioners said the issue deserves more discussion, but since the item was not on the agenda, they could not reasonably take any action.

Time has since run out to put the issue on the May ballot, and it cannot be placed on the November ballot in a presidential year, Elections Director Karen Brinson said.

The earliest potential date, she said, would be November 2013.

Commissioner Mike Hawkins agreed the issue needs more discussion, saying it is important from an economic development standpoint.

Commissioner Larry Chapman said he would need more input from the public and law enforcement.

Commissioner Jason Chappell said he opposes wine and beer sales on personal grounds.

Federal Funds

Commissioners agreed to move ahead with plans for $400,000 in housing renovations around the county funded by the federal government.

Seven homes are to be completely renovated. Another seven are to get emergency repairs, according to Mark Burrows, the county’s director of Planning and Economic Development.

Gary Wilson, who owns the consulting firm Benchmark, will prepare the application package and oversee the project. He would receive $6,500 for his work.

The federal funds are awarded regularly every four years and the chances of the county getting the grant are nearly certain, County Manager Artie Wilson said.

A citizens committee will review and recommend the approved projects with final approval needed by county commissioners.

Appointments

Commissioners made appointments to the county Economic Development Advisory Board (EDAB) and county Planning Board.

Appointed to the EDAB were local businessman Mark Peddy and real estate agent Bill Ragland, who in the latter case was already on the board but faced an expiring term.

There were a number of vacancies on the EDAB. Brevard appointed Councilman Charlie Landreth to replace Larry Canady. Rosman is considering a replacement for Roger Petit, who is not able to attend EDAB much.

Peddy, who is the outgoing president of the Heart of Brevard board, replaces Madrid Zimmerman, whose eligibility to serve has expired. Mike West was appointed to the planning board.

The resignation of Mason Sexton from EDAB and the planning board Jan. 9 left an opening on each board. Sexton also had to be replaced as chairman of the planning board.

His former chairmanship on the planning board went to Scott McCall.

Manager Review

Commissioners went into a closed session for a performance review of the county manager. No action was taken following the closed session, and the meeting was adjourned.

Animal Shelter

Wilson said he, Bill Daggett, project architect, and members of the Friends of the Animal Shelter group have had continued discussions about potential changes to the shelter design that might reduce potential costs.

The shelter should be placed out for bids in April, Wilson said. The goal is to open the new building this fall.

Former Sheriff’s Office

Wilson said county inmates are now painting the former Sheriff’s Office next to the county library. A new roof has been installed and heating and cooling equipment is set to go in by early March. Wilson said the goal is for the tax and register of deeds offices to move in sometime in May.

 
 

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