Liquor license prompts debate

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, February 23, 2016

More than two dozens residents of Springhill were on hand Monday to voice their opposition to a second request to put a restaurant and bar in their community.

Leon Fortune represented the group during the work session of the Pike County Commission, speaking on behalf of the group. “We’re just in opposition of any sale or consumption (of alcohol) especially in that location because there are so many families with young children,” he said. “We’re real concerned about the well-being of our community.”

More than 100 residents have signed a petition opposing a retail beer and liquor license request by Southern Restaurant Group, LLC, doing business as Live Oak Bar and Grill, located at 7047 Highway 87 in Troy.

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The liquor license request is the second one to come before the commission involving the Springhill property known as the old Cooter’s store.

The first, filed by CBC, LLC was for a license to operate a restaurant, bar and event venue and was a request for a brewery-pub license. Residents and members of nearby Springhill Baptist Church also opposed that request, and commissioners voted to deny the request. CBC, LLC and Chris Dickens, spokesman for the group, have filed an appeal of that decision with the Circuit Court. A hearing is set for March 21.

Amanda Dickens, wife of Chris Dickens, represented Live Oak Bar and Grill at Monday’s commission meeting. “We heard what you were talking about,” she told the crowd. “And this is not the same business … we took into consideration your concerns.”

Dickens, who with her husband operated Sweet Rack Rib Shack on the Downtown Square, said she was simply seeking the same opportunities given to other businesses. “I personally held a retail liquor license for an entire year with no problems,” she said.

Commissioners cannot vote on the request until their March 14 meeting.

Attorney Alan Brown told the commission that this request should be heard and considered independently of the pending litigation. “This is a different LLC and a different entity,” he said.

In other business on Monday, the commission:

• Authorized County Engineer Russell Oliver to make four hires in the road department.

• Approved the purchase of an SUV for the Pike County Revenue Commissioner. Ken Cox Ford was the sole bidder at $30,303.18

• Heard an update from Oliver regarding the status of road repairs after the December 2015 rain events. Only four of the 125 roads damaged remain closed – two dirt roads and two paved roads. “We’ve met with the representatives of FEMA and they have looked at about 70 sites so far. Hopefully, they will be back this week to look at some more,” he said. “There’s a lot of work ahead of us to restore those roads.”