Liquor license denied

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, March 15, 2016

For the second time in seven months, Pike County commissioners rejected efforts to open a restaurant and bar in the Springhill Community.

Commissioners voted 5-1 on Monday to deny a restaurant retail liquor license for Southern Restaurant Group, doing business as Live Oak Bar and Grill

“I’m not surprised,” said Amanda Dickens, who applied for the license on behalf of Live Oak Bar and Grill. “I’m disappointed, but not surprised.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The vote mirrored a similar vote in the fall of 2015, when commissioners denied the request for CBC LLC, headed by Dickens’ husband Chris, for a brewery-pub license at the same 7407 Highway 87 location. A hearing over that ruling is scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday in Pike County Circuit Court.

Dickens, who formerly operated Sweet Rack Rib Shack on the Downtown Troy Square with her husband, said she planned to open a restaurant and bar at the location of the old Cooter’s Store in Springhill.

“I’m looking to open a restaurant that serves alcohol,” she told commissioners before the vote. “And a majority of restaurants in Troy serve alcohol.”

More than two dozen residents of the Springhill Community were on hand for the commission meeting, showing their solidarity and opposition to the venture.

“I really wish I had been given the opportunity to sit down and talk to you,” Dickens told the crowd. “I think a lot of what you’re opposing is rumors.”

Leon Fortune spoke on behalf of the members of Springhill Baptist Church and the residents of the community. “I’m not just speaking for Springhill Baptist Church but for the many residents who have talked to me and to others,” he said. “We are making our objections known.”

Fortune cited safety concerns over the location of the proposed restaurant, which would be near a hill on Highway 87. “The residents in the community are opposed to this location,” he said.

District 4 Commissioner R.A. Goodson made the motion to deny the request on Monday and commissioners Homer Wright, Robin Sullivan, Joey Jackson and Charlie Harris concurred. District 3 Commissioner Jimmy Barron was the only one who voted against the motion to deny, lending his support to the license request.

He also was the only commissioner to support CBC LLC’s request in the fall.

“I feel the same way I did with the last application,” Barron said. “I’m willing to give anybody a chance until they prove me otherwise.”

Other commissioners declined to comment on their vote, citing the pending litigation in the CBC LLC case. “We are under pending litigation and I don’t have any comment,” said Jackson, chairman of the commission.

In other business on Monday, commissioners:

• Recognized employees Debra Gibson and Jordan Cox, who were honored by the Department of Examiners of Public Accounts for their efforts to teach representatives of other county commissions how to prepare financial statements. “I’ve been doing our financial statements for five years,” Gibson said. “Many of these other counties have never done their own financial statements … so we taught two classes in June and just taught another two classes.”

• Approved a list of surplus items for the Pike County Sheriff’s Department, including a 2008 Ford Explorer, two 2008 Ford Crown Victoria and a 2011 Ford Crown Victoria.

• Approved an FMLA request for the Pike County Probate Office.

• Approved a tax abatement resolution requested by the ACCA.

• Met in executive session to discuss pending litigation.

• Received a request for an off-premises beer and wine license from Wild Bill’s 10268 County Road 2290 in Henderson (currently operating as Donna’s Grocery).