The owner of Texas Roads Winery is looking for answers after having her request for a private club permit rejected. In the otherwise dry City of Canton, private club status allows restaurants to operate with full bars and sell wine, beer and mixed drinks.
Linda Ramsey was only seeking the permit with the intention of selling beer after several years of selling wine under a little-known that allows the sale of locally produced wines anywhere, regardless of wet/dry status.
"I did have real good business and real good clientele," Ramsey said. "We're a fun neighborhood type place."
Ramsey built Texas Roads Winery from the ground up--and even attracted an investor.
"But only if I can get the beer," she said.
Ramsey needs the legal ability to sell beer because Applebee's came to town recently. The restaurant was granted special club status and operates a full bar.
"I'm losing about $5,000 a month in sales," Ramsey said. "So I'm really, really hurting."
Ramsey worked with the TABC, Canton's Planning and Zoning Commission and the city council. She met all the technical requirements, but she was denied.
Canton's mayor said he couldn't comment on why the special use permit was denied. He said we would have to check with city council members individually. One of them answered the phone and said she had no comment. The other ones never responded to our calls.
Canton's city attorney pointed us to the ordinance itself, which says: "the proposed use will not be detrimental to the health, safety, and welfare of the surrounding neighborhood or its occupants."
"So they consider me detrimental to the neighborhood," Ramsey said. "I've never had the police come out here for anything whatsoever."
Terrica Stowell is a neighboring business owner who's lending her support.
"She deserves the right to sell her product as she sees fit," Stowell said. "She's already been doing it. I see no difference why adding a product to her already existing alcohol would be a difference."
Both of them called opening the door to some businesses and not others a double standard.
"It's just not right," Ramsey said.
Ramsey said she's looking for a lawyer because she wants to figure out whether she can take the issue back to the city council again or whether it needs to be appealed at a higher level.