Whitehouse now accepting beer sales applications

WHITEHOUSE (TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH) - Whitehouse is seeing interest from numerous applicants just weeks after voters approved the sale of beer and wine in city stores.

The city on Wednesday signed off on five applications from those seeking permits to sell alcohol, Assistant City Manager Kevin Huckabee said.

They were: Brookshire's Grocery Co., Texas Highway 110 North; Kidd-Jones, Texas Highway 110 North; Speedy Pantry, Texas Highway 110 South; JR's Beer & Wine LLC, West Main Street; and Exxon, Texas Highway 110 North.

Huckabee said the locations would be checked to ensure they are zoned properly, among other things. Once applicants get permits from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, they could come back to the city, get their city permit and have the ability to sell, he said. He said the process could take four to six weeks and last week estimated that residents could see beer and wine in stores as early as July 4.

The applicants came to the city the day after the Whitehouse City Council approved an ordinance regulating alcohol sales.

Beer and wine may be sold via a drive-through "to the extent allowed by state law," according to the ordinance.

The ordinance states that on-premise consumption is allowed at restaurants or motels that have a food and beverage certificate and "whose revenue from the sale of (alcohol is) less than 50 percent of its gross revenue."

Billboards, electric signs or outdoor advertising "for the sale or consumption" of alcohol is not permitted in Whitehouse, according to the ordinance.As far as any economic advantages for Whitehouse because of beer and wine sales, "only the future can tell what it will bring," Huckabee has said.Still, Gene Cottle, city administrator for Troup, which in 2011 approved alcohol sales, said last week that the city is "not in a panic over" Whitehouse selling alcohol right now.

He has said Troup offers distilled spirits, which will not be available in Whitehouse stores, and Troup hasn't seen a big decline in sales tax since Tyler stores started selling beer and wine.

Troup's sales tax allocation for May 2013 was down about $2,600 compared to May 2012, according to the state comptroller website. However, one month is not indicative of a trend, and it's unknown if the decline was related to alcohol sales, Cottle said last week.A.J. Johnson, owner of A.J.'s Place in Troup, said he's sure that Whitehouse approving beer and wine sales will affect business a little, "It just depends on how much in the long run."But he has said A.J.'s Place has good customers and is doing business as usual.Besides the alcohol ordinance, the Whitehouse council Tuesday also approved an ordinance to secure a $1.8 million loan to construct a ballpark and potentially purchase the Whitehouse Baseball/Softball League complex property, Farm-to-Market Road 346 and County Road 2133, Huckabee said.He said the loan includes money to reconstruct of facilities.

Huckabee said the city negotiated a price with Schaumburg & Polk engineering firm, which brought in Tyler consulting firm MHS Planning and Design to help with the proposed project.He said an advisory committee, including city workers, residents and representatives for the baseball/softball league, has discussed design ideas. The next meeting is in June.Huckabee said they are looking at a July groundbreaking for the ballpark, and the deadline for completion is next May.


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