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Harriman ponders special events permits to sell beer

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By Cindy Simpson

Beer at special events at designated places in Harriman may soon be a reality.

Previous attempts to have a special event permit allowance have failed due to public outcry.

A new ordinance, however, is much more specific.

“We outlined it this time,” said council member J.D. Sampson. “It can’t be sold on the sidewalks. It can’t be sold at the Labor Day festival. We took care to designate certain areas that may be of interest if some groups came in.”

He added, “I think it is a good one. I’d like to see the council vote it in.”

Harriman City Council approved first reading of an ordinance that included special event permits for the sale of beverages with an alcoholic content at or below 5 percent of weight.

Permits would be allowed at Emory Golf Course and Harriman Industrial Park, where Renaissance Festival planners want to be able to sell alcohol.

The Renaissance Festival organizers said their location at the industrial park property off Fiske Road depended on being able to sell alcohol at their weekend events.

Council amended the ordinance to take out the ability to have special-event permits to have events at Riverfront Park and Flour Mill Flats ballfields.

It was a decision that Sampson was not happy with.

He compared it to Boomsday, the Labor Day festivities in Knoxville.

“If you don’t want to take your kids, then don’t take them,” Sampson said.

A ball tournament hosted by Budweiser years ago was almost lost because they could not have beer sales at Flour Mill Flats, “and it was a real big tournament,” Sampson said.

“I personally would like to see it go through as is tonight,” he added. “We have a public hearing next week. Let the public come in and discuss it, and if we need to make an amendment.”

Sampson did, however, vote in favor of the amended ordinance.

The public hearing will be at 6:50 p.m. March 11 in Harriman Municipal Office Complex.

Council will consider second reading of the ordinance at its regular meeting at 7 p.m.