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Beer permit request falls flat with board

A Roan Mountain resident’s request for a beer permit to reopen the Beer Wash became a washout after

Board Chairman Tom Bowers and board member JoAnn Blankenship discuss a point of law regarding failure to renew a beer permit on time.

Board Chairman Tom Bowers and board member JoAnn Blankenship discuss a point of law regarding failure to renew a beer permit on time.

several people spoke out against the return of the business, which they say has a storied past.
The Carter County Beer Board voted unanimously against granting a permit to Delia Sampson, who had applied for the permit with the intention of reopening the business located on U.S. Highway 19E in Roan Mountain.
Sampson told members of the board she moved to Roan Mountain in 2011 and that she was hoping to open the business to supplement her income. “I am a recent widow and I thought I could make a little extra money,” Sampson said of her plans.
Members of the Board asked Sampson if she had purchased the property; she said that she had not, but that she was working with the property owner on a lease agreement for the property. “I didn’t want to sign anything until I knew if I could open it,” she said.
Sampson had applied for not only an off-premises permit – which would allow the store to sell beer to customers to take somewhere else to consume – but she was also seeking an on-premises permit that would allow alcohol to be consumed at the location itself. She said she also planned to have musical entertainment at the Beer Wash.
During the public hearing portion of the meeting regarding the requested permit for the Beer Wash, several individuals spoke out against granting the permit, and no one spoke in favor of it.
Dean Rupert, the owner of Dean’s Garage, said his property is next door to the Beer Wash and that when the business was open previously, he had numerous problems stemming from customers of the Beer Wash.
“In the past when it was there before, about a half-dozen incidents, maybe more, of things happening to my building,” Rupert said. He added that on one occasion a customer left the Beer Wash and drove into his building, causing $12,000 in damage to his business.
Rupert said he frequently found trash and beer bottles on his property and that customers from the Beer Wash would park at his property. He said customers of the Beer Wash would also come outside with their beer and would stand around his property drinking.
“From the fact that the Beer Wash was there I had customers who would not leave their car at my shop,” Rupert said.
Roan Mountain resident Don Morgan, who said he lives near the Beer Wash location, said he also opposed the business reopening. “Our section of the community is besieged with drugs and why would anyone with common sense want to add complications is beyond me,” he said.
Anna Estep, who said she also lived near the Beer Wash, told the Board that when the business was previously open, not only were there people drinking outside the business and loud noise from the music inside, but there were also times when she heard gunshots coming from the Beer Wash.
“I was scared,” she said.
County Commissioner Richard Winters, who represents the 2nd District including Roan Mountain, said he has spoken with a number of people in the Roan Mountain community and that “without exception, they are opposed to granting this permit.”
The Board also heard from Carter County Sheriff Chris Mathes, who also expressed his desire for the permit to be denied.
“I would strongly discourage an on-premises permit for this location,” Mathes said. “There are great concerns with this business.” Mathes also reported to the Board that when the business was previously open his officers answered numerous calls to that location. “If it is opened they will get a heavy dose of us.”
Mathes then addressed Sampson regarding her desire to reopen the business. “If you do open up there, you will need to start all over because of the reputation of the place,” he said.
Sampson said that she had not been aware of the previous problems that had existed with the business because she moved to Roan Mountain after it had closed down.
“I just thought it was be a way to make a little money,” she said.
After the public hearing, the Board voted unanimously to deny issuing any beer permit – off-premises or on-premises – to Sampson regarding the Beer Wash location.
After the vote, several people in attendance thanked the Board members for their decision.
“You are doing the Roan Mountain community one of the best services that can be done,” Rupert said.
In less-controversial matters, the Board approved granting an off-premises permit to the newly opened Dollar General Store located on Bristol Highway in the Keenburg area, and also voted to assess a 10 percent late fee to the owner of Hank’s Dock at Mallard Cove Marina for failing to renew his permit by the appropriate date.