The ongoing question of how to fairly allocate business to wrecker companies on Chattanooga’s rotation list came before the Beer/Wrecker Board at the Thursday morning meeting. The ordinance adopted by the city specifies that towing businesses on the list are assigned to clear up wrecks on a rotating basis unless a trucking company has a preferred towing and recovery company on file with the city, or if a driver specifies the company to use. By law, the police officer called to the scene cannot suggest a company.
Guy Yates from Guy Yates Wrecker Service at Chickamauga Loop, Chattanooga, told the board that his company was next in line to be used when a wreck on I-24 westbound at Moccasin Bend occurred recently, but another company was called instead. Officer John Collins with the Chattanooga Police Department explained that the owners of the overturned truck did not have a preferred towing company on file. He said that a truck driver from Bryson Trucking was just behind the accident and called the company that owned the wreckage to ask if he could handle it. He was told that Bryson Trucking did not meet the requirements for that job and consequently he recommended that the driver request Doug Yates Towing and Recovery on 23rd Street. That company was then called because of the driver’s request.
Guy Yates told the board that the recently passed ordinance specifies a preferred towing company must have been listed with the city for two days prior to a wreck. His company is the one that should have been called, he contended, because there was no contract on file. Officer Collins’ said this had been a case of customer request and it has nothing to do with the ordinance.
The Wrecker Board members suggested that it was a difference in interpretation of the new ordinance. Board member Kevin McKenna said Officer Collins did nothing wrong in making the decision he did and suggested that when a towing company is called out of order because of a driver’s request that they then be moved to the end of the list.
Andre Harriman said, “It’s the same old story.” His suggestion was to send a representative to other cities to see how they distribute towing a recovery business. Assistant City Attorney Keith Reisman told Mr. Yates that this board’s function is to hear and decide on violations, not make policies. He said the matter needs to be taken up with the Chattanooga City Council.
Functioning as the Beer Board, a special event beer permit was issued to Erik Rippon on behalf of SORBA (Southern Off Road Bicycle Association) for a fundraising event. “Ales for the Trails” will be held at Outdoor Chattanooga at 200 River St. on Oct. 27 from 6-10 p.m. New Belgium Ales will be served with grilled chicken wings. Mr. Rippon told the board that ABC certified servers will ID patrons to ensure they are 21, and will issue wrist bands. He said the organizers anticipate around 100 participants and that two security officers have been hired.
Two longtime restaurants in Chattanooga have new owners. A change of ownership requires the business to surrender the old beer license and for the new owner to acquire one. Manuel Saenz applied to the board for a consumer/carry-out license for Shogun Japanese Steakhouse at 1806 Gunbarrel Road. All inspections have been passed and Mr. Saenz told the board that he owns other restaurants and understands the rules of the beer code. He said that he currently is in the process of training all employees. A permit was unanimously approved for this restaurant.
New owners of J. Alexander’s Restaurant at 2215 Hamilton Place Blvd. also received a beer license. The company that recently purchased O’Charley’s has bought the business, which will change hands at the end of October. The board was told that the restaurant will retain the same manager and employees. They were told that alcohol is sold as a complement to the food. J. Alexander’s has a zero policy concerning violations in selling alcoholic beverages, according to the manager, and termination is the penalty if there is a violation by any employee. A manager meets daily with the staff and tells them the date that they must look for on identification in order to serve alcohol. It was a unanimous decision to issue the restaurant a beer license.