Hopefully, no one believed restaurants and beverage stores would appear overnight in Oneonta or Blountsville after both municipalities voted last Tuesday in favor of alcohol sales. However, talks have begun.
Wednesday morning, Oneonta city manager Ed Lowe was already on the phone with representatives of three new restaurants and an Alabama Beverage Control (ABC) store after a city council meeting was called to verify the vote.
Businesses will not be eligible to sell alcohol until local and state applications have been approved, which could take a minimum of 45 days from the time they are submitted.
Oneonta’s local applications are ready to be picked up at city hall or can be downloaded by visiting www.cityofoneonta.us. Once both applications are accepted, a public hearing will be conducted along with a review by the alcohol revenue committee. Additionally, adjoining properties will be notified of the intent to sale alcohol near them.
The town of Blountsville didn’t receive a petition to sell alcohol until March, so the municipality is not as prepared as Oneonta. However, the town is making strides to abide by all laws before beginning their own sales.
“Mayor Glass is asking for patience as we get everything in order to make sure it is done correctly,” said Blountsville town clerk Alethea Bailey.
During Blountsville’s Monday meeting, the council certified the election results and discussed how alcohol revenue would be allocated during a work session, but no definite decision was made. Bailey says they will continue their discussion during another meeting next Monday.
The town is already receiving numerous calls from people concerning alcohol licenses and, for now, Bailey says they are hoping to have applications available in 60 days. On June 20, the town is scheduled to meet with an ABC agent during an open meeting at 2 p.m.
Blountsville adopted the same alcohol ordinances as Oneonta which include requirements such as alcohol-selling business must be 250-feet away from a church or public/private elementary or secondary school, or the two buildings must be separated by four or more lanes of traffic or a natural partition.
“We are leaning toward the restrictive side with these ordinances,” Lowe said.“But the way our community is laid out, it’s not that restrictive. I can’t think of a place that would want to sell alcohol that couldn’t.”
The city of Oneonta was well-represented at the polls with a turnout of more than 50 percent of voters.
“I think this is the time for our community,” Lowe said.“It was a passionate issue whether pro or con, and it was good to have the citizens engaged. In my 17 years working here, this is the most I’ve ever seen vote in a municipal election.”