July 6, 2008

Officials Seek Boost That Could Come With Alcohol Sales

By Allyson Bond, High Point Enterprise, N.C.

Jul. 6--ARCHDALE -- Though liquor-by-the-drink sales in Archdale passed by a considerable margin in May, some businesses in the city have been slow to apply for the permit allowing such sales.

When the measure passed almost two months ago, businesses could have sought temporary permits to sell liquor-by-the-drink less than two weeks following the vote. However, only one restaurant so far has applied for an alcohol permit.

The new restaurant, A.J's Diner, located in the former Mr. K's Restaurant on Main Street, recently applied for its beer and wine permit.

Planning Director Jeff Wells said the city likely wouldn't see a significant amount of permit applications until there is more development along N.C 62, near the future Interstate 85 and Interstate 74/U.S. 311 interchange.

There are some industrial sites going up, Wells said, but in the next several years when retail developments start to come, more alcohol permit applications likely will come through the city. That area was designated by the city's Land Use Plan for mixed-use developments that include industrial and retail.

In April, the City Council approved a request from Gary White of Sixty Two Properties to rezone a 23.3-acre portion of property off N.C. 62 and east of Checker Road for light industrial use. A portion of that property, 5.5 acres, is slated for a California-based company, Pamex Inc., to locate its East Coast distribution center.

On Monday, the city's Planning and Zoning Board is going to review a preliminary plat for the entire property. The owner is requesting to subdivide the property, with 6.4 acres that fronts the property zoned for highway business use and the remaining for light industrial usage.

Archdale-Trinity Chamber of Commerce President Beverly Nelson said the allowance of mixed-drink sales in the city is "just another tool in the toolbox" that could draw more business such as restaurants to the city.

She said the chamber of commerce has not had to field any inquiries from businesses that serve alcohol, however, citing that business in general has slowed.

"I believe the economy is in a slowdown," she said, adding that the slowdown could bring more attention to the local businesses that already are in the city. Because mixed drinks had not been an option before, the chamber hadn't tried to recruit businesses that did.

"In recruiting restaurants, we had a plan in place to recruit what we felt the community was missing," she said.

Since 2005, Archdale has allowed the sale of malt beverages as well as unfortified wines. Residents weren't given the option to vote on mixed-drinks in 2005. A law that prohibited the city from considering that option since has been changed. Archdale currently is the only municipality in Randolph County that authorizes the sale of mixed drinks.

Randleman failed by 13 votes to authorize liquor-by-the-drink sales in 2006. Asheboro will hold its next alcohol referendum later this month. The last vote that city held was in 1994.

According to Randolph County Elections officials, Asheboro is eligible at any time to consider another alcohol referendum related to the establishment of an ABC store. A municipality is eligible to bring an alcohol referendum to a vote three years after it was last introduced. Residents voted down the measure three years ago.

Though the permit is a state application, local agencies such as police and planning and zoning departments must sign off saying the applicant is in compliance with rules and regulations of a city's zoning ordinance where the permit will be used. According to the city's zoning rules, an establishment that serves alcohol must be at least 500 feet from a church or school and 250 from residential property.


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Copyright (c) 2008, High Point Enterprise, N.C.

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