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Attorney: Rogersville BMA has no authority to restrict liquor by the drink sales

November 12th, 2013 11:55 pm by Jeff Bobo

Attorney: Rogersville BMA has no authority to restrict liquor  by the drink sales

ROGERSVILLE — Rogersville leaders have no power to restrict liquor by the drink sales within the city, nor is there currently any authority by the city to control where Suboxone or methadone clinics locate, although the latter may change soon.

Cocktails and narcotics being sold legally in Rogersville was a hot topic during Tuesday’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting.

Last month the BMA was asked to reduce or eliminate a 250-foot setback restriction for alcohol sales from schools, parks and churches. 

The proposed change would pave the way for the Sagebrush Steak House restaurant, which sells cocktails with meals, to open in a building on Park Boulevard across from the Rogersville City Park.

An ordinance was expected to be on Tuesday’s BMA agenda, and several people attended the meeting to express their opposition to such an ordinance.

Upon reviewing the law more closely, however, City Attorney Bill Phillips informed the BMA Tuesday that no action was needed by the board. Liquor by the drink permits are issued and governed by the state, and Rogersville has no authority to implement setback restrictions for consumption of alcohol “on-premises.”

“As long as the business is a lawful business, and it’s zoned in the proper zone — if they pass the requirements of the state ... then they are entitled to have a liquor by the drink license,” Phillips said.

Rogersville’s only participation in the process is to issue a “certificate of good moral character” upon completion of a background check on the applicant.

The issue of Suboxone clinics and methadone clinics came up near the end of Tuesday’s meeting when Alderman Mark Dewitte asked if the city recorder or city attorney had information about an alleged Suboxone clinic having already opened in the city. 

For an expanded version of this article, please see Wednesday's print edition or our expanded electronic edition.

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