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Rockwood relaxes liquor laws

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By The Staff

By CINDY SIMPSON

csimpson@roanecounty.com

What can sometimes be a hot-button issue wasn’t for the Rockwood City Council, who last week approved lifting distance requirements for establishments selling alcohol.

The council approved on second reading an ordinance that removes the 100-foot distance requirement from churches and schools if the property is commercially zoned at C-1 and C-2.

The ordinance also removes the limit of six on-premises consumption permits for the community.

Little comment was made by either the community or council members, except for an explanation from council member Stan Wassom, who cast the only dissenting vote.

“I just can’t bring myself to say yes on alcohol,” said Wassom.

Wassom, a history buff, said the city had 26 saloons in its early days, information he uncovered while researching Rockwood history with a descendant of Gen. John T. Wilder, the town’s founder.

The elimination of the 100-foot requirement would apply to both liquor stores and liquor-by-the-drink establishments in the designated zoning areas. City voters approved both types of sales in referendum last year.