By LYDIA BERGLAR
The Sentinel spoke with Mayor Alex Case to get an updated status on each of the three approved liquor stores within the city limits.
The most significant update is that the Oakwood Avenue location was approved at a Special Called Meeting on Sept. 2. This location and the location behind Huddle House are going through the process of permitting, creating building plans to be approved, and following zoning law procedures.
The third location (what used to be Larry’s Restaurant) is much closer to opening, but the owner is still working through final details.
According to Case, “The City of Trenton is a zoned environment. We’re currently working with all three owners. They’re bringing us preliminary plans and working through the building process to meet zoning standards. They must have an architectural stamped set of drawings, and meet fire code, plumbing code, etc. Everyone building inside the city has to be a licensed Georgia contractor.”
Case noted that the remodeling at Larry’s is nearing completion but still awaiting storage shelves. He added that all three owners also own gas stations or stores that are licensed to sell malt beverages, wine, gas, tobacco, and lottery tickets.
When asked why the permit was first denied for the Oakwood Avenue location but later approved, Case replied, “It was denied because it was really close to a residential community, and many people were opposed to it. However, there are just as many people driving up and down Sand Mountain and McKaig Road. Some property owners in Middleton Estates [off of McKaig Road] didn’t want a store near them either.”
Discussions between owners, the Planning Committee, and the Appeal Commission involved many meetings. According to Case, “It went on for weeks. We had several called meetings and a lot of work sessions.”
Previously, the Planning Committee reported that the number of liquor stores within city limits would not be limited. However, Case gave an update, saying, “We did put a moratorium on liquor stores. We think that three is enough, so we are not accepting more applications for liquor stores.”
Case explained that the city does want healthy competition so that one store does not have a monopoly.
A portion of the minutes from the Sept. 2 Special Called Meeting read, “Based on the conversation with the attorneys since the City Commission authorized conditional use of the location in the distilled spirits retail package store. It will override any conflict in provision so we are re-appealing any decisions that were made prior to this and we just need a motion to approve conditional use at 80 Oakwood Ave. for the facility they want to build within the B/R conditional zone.”
The motion carried. For further details from the decision process, view the minutes from the previous Special Called Meeting (Aug. 25) on the city’s website.