With the request of a beer, wine and liquor license request by Vilas Patel, (who currently operates the Hi-Tech with his family) wished to open a liquor store at the location of 255 West Line St., was denied by the mayor and city council due to an uproar from the surrounding community.
On Monday night, the public hearing for Patel and citizens against the establishment of the store resolved in lack of a motion by the city council, forcing the request to be denied.
Speaking on behalf of Patel was Dan Bumgardner who said that he believed that the store would not create an unsafe environment. He also presented the governing body with a map from the Calhoun Police Department that showed violent crimes around liquor store locations.
“It shows all the liquor stores and all the crimes, there’s really no correlation to any additional crime to liquor store than there is to any other,” said Bumgardner. “I don’t believe, really, there is going to be any more of an unsafe environment to this facility than there already are.”
Kathy Hunton added to the debate that she has been a customer of the Patel family for years.
“As far as responsibility, I wish everybody was half as responsible as I’ve seen these people be when selling alcohol,” said Hunton.
Current employee of Patel at Hi-Tech Tonya Vondenburger, came forth and said that she could vouch that they do not serve alcohol to minors at Hi-Tech. She also added that three facilities close by already serve alcohol, and she did not understand why the proposed liquor store would change anything.
In opposition of the new liquor store was Janie Aker, who felt that, because of its close proximity to the McConnell Road Community Center, the request should be denied.
“A lot of young people are there all the time,” said Aker. He was afraid that alcohol would some how get into the wrong hands.
After hearing more pro and con arguments, the request was ready to be voted on.
Mayor Jimmy Palmer asked for a motion, but none were given by city council members.
Since there was not a motion, City Attorney Bill Bailey, said the request would be denied.
Council member George Crowley addressed the citizens requesting the license about guidelines concerning approving or denying alcohol licenses.
“Basically, I saw three problems with the request you had, which most have been resolved” said Crowley. “The one thing that presents a problem is guideline number six that you have to consider the feelings and attitudes of those residing in the area adjacent to the proposed location.”
City council member David Hammond said his vote was dictated by the voices from the community.
“I don’t believe you can legislate morality,” said Hammond. “I have all the respect and admiration for the owner’s right to do this, but you have to consider the community.”
Mayor Palmer denied the request due to lack of a motion.