City Beer Board Briefed On New Special Gathering Permit

Thursday, September 19, 2013 - by Gail Perry

Keith Reisman, assistant city attorney, Thursday morning briefed the City Beer Board about the city’s newly revised special gathering permit. The new version specifies that if the gathering is in a location that does not have a beer or alcohol license, and alcohol is present or consumed including “brown bagging,” or bring-your-own alcohol, a permit must be obtained. This applies to an assembly of 50 or more people or if it is held in a facility with an occupancy capacity of 50 or more.  The ordinance pertains to either a commercial or non-commercial event for which money has been exchanged and that will continue until after midnight.

Providing a detailed security plan is one requirement in the application process to obtain a permit. Security personnel must be either a Tennessee certified police officer or be employed by a Tennessee licensed security company. The premises must be available for inspection by any city policeman or inspector. If any sale of alcohol what so ever takes place, the appropriate beer or ABC permit must be valid. The location, date, hours of the event and number of people expected must all be specified on the application. The amount of people at an event must conform to the occupancy limit of the facility. Each license will expire at 3 a.m.

Responsibility for maintaining the requirements of the permit is now shared by not only the promoter of the event, but also by the owner and operator of the location. Two violations within one year will result in denial of a permit for the entire following year. 

If a permit application is denied or revoked, the applicant is entitled to a hearing before the Beer Board. That decision can be appealed before a judge. Attorney Reisman said this has been written to be both constitutional and to meet the needs of the city.

The board issued special event permits for three upcoming affairs that are planned in October. Carla Pritchard of Chattanooga Presents will handle the beer sales for each, and came to the meeting to obtain the beer licenses. Permits were approved for the Annual Pride Festival from noon-7p.m. at Miller Plaza. This LGBT organization celebrates diversity in the Chattanooga area.

On Oct. 12 from 5-11 p.m., the finale celebration of River Rocks will take place in the 200 block of Broad Street. This location was chosen in order to feature the new climbing wall as well as the Aquarium in the background. This is the culmination of 12 days that will highlight adventure sports in the Chattanooga area, appealing to the elite athlete. There will be a live radio show, film projections on the side of a building and street performers.

The 3 Sisters Festival will be at Ross’s Landing on Oct. 4 from 5:30-11 p.m. and on Oct. 5 from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. This is a free event for the community featuring bluegrass music. Food and beer vendors will be available.

Consumer beer licenses were approved for Kitchen at Union Square located at 200 W.M.L. King Blvd. This restaurant will be operated by Culinard, LLC, which is part of Education Corporation of America / Virginia College. It will be used as a teaching facility and a place where students will be trained in food, wine and all alcoholic beverages in a real world experience. Nov. 4 is the opening date. It will be open weekdays from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. and until 11 p.m. on weekends.

Valleybrook Golf Club will change ownership on Sept. 23. This is a full-service country club and was approved for a consumer/carryout beer license.

Fanatics Sports Bar and Grill at 7601 Brainerd Road has been open since 2004. Because owner Greg Vandiver has added a partner to the business, application of a new beer permit was required. The license was unanimously approved for this sports bar that has a full menu and serves both beer and liquor.

A convenience store at the corner of Lee Highway and Airport Road is being renovated, and will reopen with a new name, One Stop Mart. The business was approved for a carryout license to sell beer.  

Kristina Mallo representing Cashew, a vegan café located at 149 River Street, applied to the board for a beer permit. She told the board that she had merely skimmed the beer codes and that she understood most of them. Because she had not fully read and did not fully understand all the current requirements for having a license to sell beer, the board was reluctant to approve her application and she was advised to come to the next meeting of the beer board on Oct. 3, which would give her time to familiarize herself with the entire code.

Raymond Hunter’s application to obtain a beer license for Boo Coe’s Sports Bar and Grill at 2510 E. Main St. was denied. Mr. Hunter owns the building and in the past has leased it to house several different bars, one in which he was personally involved. It has also functioned as an event hall. Each business at that location has had multiple violations and there is a history of violence surrounding it, the board was told. 

Stuart Brown, attorney representing Mr. Hunter, said he planned to run this new business himself and would be present most of the time, thereby having more control. “He understands the board will have him on a short leash. I feel confident that the board will shut him down if he doesn’t” conform to all the rules and regulations, said attorney Brown. Beer Board members were not convinced and remained concerned that Mr. Hunter’s failure to put an end to the infractions as both a landlord and business owner would continue in any new business, and denied a beer license for the establishment.  

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