Bedford Ramblings
Steve Mills

Bell Buckle is considering WHAT?

Posted Wednesday, January 9, 2008, at 4:20 PM
View 47 comments
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  • Well I guess you need to actually know some background of the people you elect. Most of the people running our town love to drink! And as for the owner selling the store he had an oppurtunity to make money, do you blame him for taking it? Do you really notice a difference in our town since they now sell beer? No, you don't, I don't really see that being the problem.

    -- Posted by bell buckle09 on Wed, Jan 9, 2008, at 8:20 PM
  • I don't remember personal drinking habits being a part of the election. Maybe it should be, but I like personal staying personal, there is just no need to bring it to the whole community.

    It might seem like it, but I am not against having a beer, wine or mixed drink. But I do not have to have it to enjoy a meal, and I learned a long time ago that it kills in many ways.

    When we were in the food service business, we were told that we HAD TO allow smoking. It never seemed to hurt our business that we didn't and look what the trend is now.

    As far as the beer being sold in town, we can tell a difference by the amount of trash we find on our property. Where did the fellow get beer last year that led to the accident that took the life one of our daughter's classmates. No smoking gun, but it all adds up.

    Most people like to visit BB because it is a step back in time. They like to move here because we have lower taxes, and slower pace of living and strong community values that have not been diluted by "progress" like elsewhere.

    Why do we need it? For our customers?

    -- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Jan 9, 2008, at 8:55 PM
  • Regarding the fellow selling the store, one of the other arguments about allowing him to sell beer was that he was a responsible member of the community and would sell beer responsibly as well. He did not stick around long enough to validate that faith given to him.

    Do I blame him for wanting to make a profit? No. However, I believe he was wanting to sell before that time and knew that beer sales would help his bottom line.

    Who gained by our town leaders changing the laws? Did the town gain something? If so, how much was it worth?

    -- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Jan 9, 2008, at 9:09 PM
  • Well, Steve, when are the local elections in town? Also, if you know of anyone that's interested in running, this might be a good time for them to decide. Personally, I don't mind the brown-bagging of wine bottles, as long as they are re-corked and a "seal" is put over the cork for transport back to the house. I don't necessarily agree with the brown-bagging of liquor though.

    -- Posted by Thom on Wed, Jan 9, 2008, at 10:55 PM
  • I truly understand the enjoyment of a nice glass of wine, had one last night, but I was not driving and only had one.

    You must have seen this resealing done somewhere. Did it work well?

    How is the quantity regulated at the table? Does the business have the right to cork the bottle when they believe it is time? Two glass should be enough for a meal, unless one is drinking for drinking sake.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jan 10, 2008, at 7:07 AM
  • I drink occasionally, but do have a problem with this law. Mainly for the reason Steve stated. There is no way to regulate it. If I'm in the mood to have a beer with my food or mixed drink, I have several options only twenty minutes down the road in Shelbyville. There is no need to pass this law. I have teenage children driving in the Bell Buckle area and prefer not to put anymore drunk drivers on the road to "help" a restaurant owner increase his business.

    -- Posted by tgreader on Thu, Jan 10, 2008, at 8:54 AM
  • Here is another thought about visitors coming to BB and having a few drinks. There is only one relatively straight road in and out of BB. All the others have some good curves. Would it not be an extra challenge and/or threat to have impaired drivers driving roads that they do not know well?

    Do we want to take the extra chance with our family for the sake of those who might want to imbibe? ONE accident by someone coming out of a BB establishment would go straight to the shoulders of our esteemed leaders who pass this law.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jan 10, 2008, at 9:45 AM
  • I'd bet money Fairfield Pike has been responsible for more traffic fatalities than any other highway of that size in Bedford County and possibly all of Middle Tennessee over the last 30 years. Sure, we should let people get lickered up down there in Bell Buckle and hit one of our kids on the way home, since there will be nobody to say "hey you've had enough".

    If this law goes into effect, there should be a stipulation that all traffic incidents caused by intoxicated people leaving these establishments will be at the liability of the owner of that property. If they are held accountable, they would be more inclined to regulate the amount of consumption while on their premises.

    -- Posted by tgreader on Thu, Jan 10, 2008, at 10:44 AM
  • Steve, when I lived in Jacksonville, they passed a state law that allowed people that had bought a bottle of wine at a restaurant to have that bottle re-corked and had a specific seal that the restaurant had to affix to the cork so that if it were tampered with, law enforcement could tell. The thought behind this was totally different though. Unlike Tennessee, Florida has an open container law that forbids any bottles in a vehicle on which the manufacturer's seal has been broken. The reasoning behind the new practice in FL was that the patron that buys a bottle of wine at a restaurant would feel obligated to drink the entire bottle prior to driving home (not generally a good idea). The new law allows people to buy a bottle of wine at a restaurant and drink only a glass or two, and then have the bottle re-corked for transport to their home.

    I understand the thought behind repealing of the brown-bagging ordinance in BB. I spoke with Mayor Webb this morning and asked him if it were possible to have the new ordinance setup so that the establishment could only serve wine and champagne. He said that the wording of a state law (I've done no research on this, and have no reason to doubt him) requires either all brown-bagging to be allowed, or restricted. He also told me that the owner of the new establishment that requested this assured him that they would police this themselves and would not sell setups for mixed drinks (as state law allows).

    For those of you that aren't aware, the main reason this came up (from what I was told this morning) is that someone (I won't name who) has built a banquet hall in town. They would like to host weddings and such on this site and have requested this so that people would be able to have wine or champagne at these functions. I completely understand the reasoning behind this. I also have absolutely no problem with people having drinks at these functions, or at dinner for that matter. I would hate to see this get to the point where people are getting blind drunk and driving home. I have to be honest, those curvy roads are sometimes dangerous when you're stone-cold sober. I think the town will be able to come to an amicable agreement on this matter though.

    From what I've seen the people of Bell Buckle tend to get along, although I could be wrong about that. I think that if the town could come together and agree to allow this, that it should definitely be reviewed after a predetermined period of time to see if there has been a negative impact on the town. If not, then there was no harm done. If, after a specified period of time, it is determined that there has been a distinct negative impact on the town, then the brown-bagging ban should be re-instated. Personally, I think the proprietor of this banquet hall will do his best to ensure that there is not a negative impact as this would have ramifications at his other establishments in town. Keep in mind that this gentleman lives here, as do his grandchildren, and I'm sure he wouldn't want to do anything to jeopardize them.

    As for the restaurant that most recently moved to the building out on Hwy 82, I haven't talked to the owner, but I was told that they had to move due to the sale of the building they occupied, not so that they can sell alcohol.

    -- Posted by Thom on Thu, Jan 10, 2008, at 11:15 AM
  • I know the owner you are referring to and have no concern that he would handle things appropriately. However, I am concerned that it is opening the door for others who may not be as responsible.

    I also understand the business side of this and can appreciate his position, but we build or do not build based on the environment we are in.

    The original convenience store owner knew it was a dry town when he bought and built, but must have had a "quiet" agreement with town leadership. At least I would have before I spent that much money, knowing that beer was going to be one of my main income producers.

    G certainly knew BB by now, so he must have felt that he could make money with or without alcohol when he built the hall. It seems that alcohol has been at previous private events, so how would a wedding be different?

    It may come to pass, but the residents of BB need to make sure their voice is heard (whatever it is) and hopefully town leadership will listen, even if it does not fit their agenda.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jan 10, 2008, at 12:38 PM
  • Well, I'm sure both sides will have an opportunity to have their arguments heard next month at the "public hearing" that was mentioned. I really hope that people on both sides show up and speak civilly so that we can have this issue resolved in a manner that will allow everyone to walk away knowing that their opinions actually counted. I don't know when or where that will be though. Can we have it at the banquet hall? :)

    -- Posted by Thom on Thu, Jan 10, 2008, at 12:54 PM
  • Before the people bought beer they got it down the road at the BP. I've lived in bell Buckle my whole life and we have seen the same amount of trash on our road before and after they started selling beer. And all you have to do is have a petiton signed by 10 percent of the voters in Bell Buckle and that may stop the public hearing. And the mayor said that half of the towns income was coming in from beer sales, so the town is benefitting from this.

    -- Posted by bell buckle09 on Thu, Jan 10, 2008, at 2:41 PM
  • If it wasn't for beer sales and water sales the town would be in trouble.

    Even before BP they bought it at Junior's. No tax for the city either place. The previous owner of the store ran a good clean place of business who would want to put up with all this. This is 2008 last time I checked. The Owners of Bell Buckle Call are responsible people and run a good business.

    -- Posted by roadrunner on Thu, Jan 10, 2008, at 3:30 PM
  • Folks, I am not saying anything bad about the owners of the Bell Buckle Cafe, so please do not imply that. We consider that family as friends and neighbors.

    We own property adjacent to the market, so we intimately know what trash is generated by the patrons. Again now, we are not saying anything bad about the owners of the market.

    I am not sure what "they" are putting up with, but dissenting opinion seems like the American way. Just because it is 2008 does not mean we have to agree or give in to the way communities around us are changing.

    I have lived in Nashville, Murfreesboro and other larger towns around the nation. We chose to return to a smaller, less hectic community that has small-town values.

    Does half the town's income mean it is matching taxes? I don't think we have any other real income.

    From my time on the planning commission, it seemed that water was always losing, not making money.

    I am impressed if beer sales are matching taxes. Not that I feel differently about beer sales in town, but still impressed.

    I am not sure what is meant about 10 percent of the voters being able to stop the public hearings. Could you elaborate on that?

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jan 10, 2008, at 4:40 PM
  • I am amazed that the same people against beer sales at the store are for brown bagging. There is only one business that could benefit from this and we all know who that is. But on the other side there is alot of us that could suffer from this when someone drunk leaves driving. This is worse than beer. Is someone going to stand at the door and do blood alcohol tests or drive them home? I did not have a problem with beer and I do not drink beer and have not bought any at the store, but beer is everywhere for sale. Grocery, Walmart stores and Drug stores, but liquor is not. How can you justify this. We will have all the county drunks in Bell Buckle. GREAT JOB! pat yourself on the back. What about your children do you want them driving with drunks in Bell Buckle?

    You all need to check and see who voted for brown bagging and remember on election day. Some could be one timers.

    -- Posted by BB resident on Thu, Jan 10, 2008, at 6:58 PM
  • BB Resident, I do not know who most of these comments are by, but you must have been at the town meeting that discussed this. I hope to make the next one.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jan 10, 2008, at 7:46 PM
  • If Mr. Mills would check with ALderman Anderson, he did a study on the water.

    It was making money but the sewer was taking it away.

    Maybe the brown bagging should be limited to beer and wine....beer/pizza, wine to celebrate

    birthdays, etc. Bell Buckle has lots of closet drinkers, can't buy beer at 82 but drive to BP bring it back.

    Go figure!!!!

    -- Posted by roadrunner on Fri, Jan 11, 2008, at 8:09 AM
  • roadrunner, When I spoke with Mayor Webb yesterday I asked the same question regarding limiting the types of alcohol that could be "brown-bagged". He said the way the state law is written, local municipalities have the ability to restrict brown-bagging all together, or not at all, that there really is no middle ground. I'm trying to find the state statute on that today but, like I said in an earlier post, I have no reason to doubt his information.

    -- Posted by Thom on Fri, Jan 11, 2008, at 8:42 AM
  • THOM - I feel sure Mayor Webb is right.

    He seems to have it together and knows what is going on.

    Just don't see it being a problem.

    -- Posted by roadrunner on Fri, Jan 11, 2008, at 10:09 AM
  • I don't see why brown-bagging is such a big issue, in this instance. I just think that, if this is approved, they should include a clause to re-visit this at a later date to ease the concerned of the citizens that don't want it for safety reasons. Personally, I don't really have a dog in this hunt since I'm already married and don't plan on changing that, so we most likely won't be having a wedding at the banquet hall. I understand his wanting to offer this to his clients, and I have no doubts that the proprietor of this hall will do his best to ensure that the people leaving there are either shuttled, or sober. If I want to drink, I'll do it at my house since it's really difficult to run over someone or get a DUI sitting on my couch. As far as the "closet drinkers" are concerned, it's kind of like one time when I went to visit my brother and his family in San Diego. He and I went to a pub and his wife was with us. She said "I can't go in there, what if I see someone from church in there"? My response was simple, "Then that means they're in there too...big deal." I thoroughly believe that you can drink alcohol, in moderation, and still be an upstanding Christian, if that's the problem that people have with it. If someone's reasoning behind not wanting it in town is more of a moral issue, rather than a safety issue, then they should say so. I feel certain that whatever the reason for wanting the ordinance repealed (or not repealed) it would not be in the best interest of the Board to ignore that. Every person, whatever their reasoning, should have an equal say in this and the Board will have a chance to hear these arguments at the public hearing that they are going to have.

    -- Posted by Thom on Fri, Jan 11, 2008, at 12:50 PM
  • Thom: You are 100% right. I like your thinking. I had the same thing happen years ago at a club in Nashville, please don't tell anyone you saw me were the first words out of there mouth. I am a teacher in Bedford Co. you didn't see me ok.

    I really think this would be used more at the new facility for groups than the Cafe itself. I am not going to lose any sleep either way.

    -- Posted by roadrunner on Fri, Jan 11, 2008, at 1:00 PM
  • I called and spoke with Danielle Elks, the Executive Director at the TN ABC, and posed the question to her. "Can a municipality restrict the practice of brown-bagging to a specific type of intoxicating beverage, such as wine or champagne and not allow brown-bagging of distilled spirits?" Her response was simply that "no, a municipality cannot do that. However, if a municipality does not have liquor-by-the-drink, then they have no ability to enact ordinances that restrict brown-bagging." She said that the State Attorney General has issued an opinion on that previously. If this is, indeed, the case then this whole thing is a moot point since Bell Buckle wouldn't have been right in passing that ordinance to begin with. According to Director Elks, an ordinance restricting brown-bagging can only be enacted by a municipality that has already passed a liquor-by-the-drink referendum.

    -- Posted by Thom on Fri, Jan 11, 2008, at 2:29 PM
  • Somehow the State response does not seem to make sense. You can not restrict drinking until you have passed a law allowing it? Did I understand that correctly?

    -- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Jan 11, 2008, at 4:40 PM
  • That's what she told me. Odd, I thought. She said that if the municipality does NOT have liquor by the drink, then brown-bagging is legal (at the establishment's discretion).

    -- Posted by Thom on Fri, Jan 11, 2008, at 4:46 PM
  • Weird.

    What about the proximity to churches and schools. It seems that the market was just far enough away to be allowed, but if you cross the tracks, are you not closer?

    -- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Jan 11, 2008, at 5:56 PM
  • Not sure about the proximity limits, but I will look for that this weekend. I believe the proximity limits can be different for each establishment though.

    -- Posted by Thom on Fri, Jan 11, 2008, at 8:59 PM
  • The people that chose to drink is fine. But why do we have to bring it to Bell Buckle? Why can they not go to it.

    There are alot of people to be considered in this issue and not just what a group of people want and a business owner. There are young children, teenagers and elderly. Bell Buckle used to be considered a "Nice quiet country town" and there are alot of people who have been here forever that would like for it to stay that way. You really need to think about what you are doing and consider all the options.

    Someone said we could bring it back if it did not work out. But if someone gets killed by a drunk, can any of you that are for it, bring them back?

    It only takes one time.

    -- Posted by BB resident on Fri, Jan 11, 2008, at 11:40 PM
  • BB resident, I've not lived in Bell Buckle all of my life like some people here in town. My wife and I love living here and would love for things to stay like they are here. I certainly wouldn't want a bar in town, neither would my wife, but I have no problem with someone at the banquet hall bringing their own bottle of wine or champagne to celebrate an event such as a wedding, family reunion, or other event. I wouldn't want to see people bringing in hard liquor for this though. However, if the state law says you can't restrict brown-bagging (because the actual "brown-bagger" is the patron, not the establishment) without first authorizing liquor by the drink, then I know that's not something that I'm willing to vote for.

    I would hate to see anyone get into a wreck and kill someone. The odds of that happening any night of the week, any week of the year, are actually just as good whether they have that bottle of wine in a banquet hall in town, or at someone's house and drive through Bell Buckle on the way to their own home. There are beer bottles all over the roadsides in this area and I'm pretty sure those were NOT consumed in a responsible manner at a licensed establishment. I'd be willing to bet (if it were legal, of course) that most of those bottles are being thrown out by drivers of vehicles driving up and down these same roads. I doubt very seriously that they are being thrown out by people who were drinking at home, saved the empty bottles or cans, and brought them with them after they were sober to throw out on the way to work the next day. If public safety is truly the main concern, then allow this establishment to do its best to keep track of the people that are drinking on premises.

    You stated "The people that chose to drink is fine. But why do we have to bring it to Bell Buckle? Why can they not go to it." Wouldn't logic tell you that those same people would be driving back to Bell Buckle after "going to it"?

    -- Posted by Thom on Sat, Jan 12, 2008, at 2:43 AM
  • Thom

    Can you guarantee that? If we approve it then it could be at the Bell Buckle Cafe and they could bring in whatever they want. Can you restrict what they bring or where if it is approved. It is like wheel tax, you never get rid of it. My concern is safety I have a teenager ready to start driving. Why should I have to take the risk of my family for someone celebrating? Most of these people are coming in and not paying taxes like we are. So tell me how this is right.

    -- Posted by BB resident on Sat, Jan 12, 2008, at 9:57 AM
  • Thom

    This maybe my last comment, since I am not going to get into a "P" match with anyone, just wanted state my opinion and concern for my family and the people of BELL BUCKLE, I am sure you have the same concern, but I still do not see why there even has to be a risk for someone wanting to party, I have moved way beyond that. You are correct about the odds, but I do not see why we even need odds. You know as well as I do there will be no controls. We do not even have law enforcement in Bell Buckle. Thanks for your comments.

    -- Posted by BB resident on Sat, Jan 12, 2008, at 10:51 AM
  • BB resident,

    I totally understand your concerns, I have the same concerns, albeit without the children. I would hate to see liquor become an issue. We have only lived here for a year and one of the main reasons that we love living here is the small town atmosphere. I'm not trying to get into a "P" match, but nobody seems to understand the reason that this proprietor wants to be able to let people bring their own wine for their functions. As it sounds from the director of the TN Alcoholic Beverage Commission, the ordinance that we currently have is invalid anyway. I'm sure that there is no responsible citizen of Bell Buckle that would want to see a bar in town, or people taking hard liquor into an establishment here to drink. That would ruin the atmosphere here.

    -- Posted by Thom on Sat, Jan 12, 2008, at 11:28 AM
  • I am going to comment, I understand and believe that no one would intentionally harm Bell Buckle, but also understand that simple things sometimes turn into a monster when not intended. There are alot of things that cannot be reversed.

    There are not any controls on the brown bagging. If it were only at the Banquet Hall and wine or champagne, then I would not mind. But you cannot control that, according to the law right?

    -- Posted by BB resident on Sat, Jan 12, 2008, at 11:47 AM
  • That is true. But according to the director of the ABC, we can't restrict them from doing so anyway unless we were to first approve liquor by the drink...which I'm NOT willing to vote for.

    -- Posted by Thom on Sat, Jan 12, 2008, at 12:17 PM
  • Exactly, my point so don't do it.

    -- Posted by BB resident on Sat, Jan 12, 2008, at 12:44 PM
  • Steve, how can you say water sales lost money? Maybe because they had leaks, but the obvious thing to do is fix it. This is another argument that I don't want to get into but that makes me furious to hear someone say that. The man that started covered bridge put in those water line and gave them to Bell Buckle and a few others have done the same thing. How is that loosing money?

    -- Posted by bell buckle09 on Mon, Jan 14, 2008, at 4:50 PM
  • Well, I certainly don't want to make anyone furious, but I am curious why there would be that much emotion tied to the water.

    When I was on the planning commission, (which ended when I opposed beer sales in town) we were spending more on installation and maintenance because we kept adding taps to the system.

    If we are making money, why did we have to put a moratorium on taps? I understand the sewer issue, but with all the "profits" from water and beer sales, it would seem that we could keep up with the maintenance.

    Even though installation of lines was covered, there are certain costs associated with maintaining those lines. If we are truly making money with water, I would appreciate knowing the details.

    Since yo are passionate about the issue, I presume you know what they are, or how to get to them. During past governing tenures, the information was always very "muddy".

    When I was removed from the board, I stopped trying to undestand, so maybe it is better now.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Jan 14, 2008, at 5:17 PM
  • I talked to a lady tonight and they have 2 boys ages 14 and 15 and ready to drive. She said the reason they moved to Bell Buckle from Murfreesboro for that reason that only beer could be bought in Bell Buckle. She is very disappointed with the Board's decision.

    She knows nothing about the beer or any other Board issues in the past. Is this what we want the people from other areas to think about Bell Buckle. If you do this you will be sorry and will ruin Bell Buckle. THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can you justify this.

    -- Posted by BB resident on Mon, Jan 14, 2008, at 8:10 PM
  • Well, the Board hasn't made a decision yet. From what I've been told there has to be a public hearing prior to the next Board meeting. I would certainly recommend getting everyone together that is opposed to this (if it's even an issue) and have them voice their opinions to the Board. If the majority of the people that do voice their opinions aren't the ones that the Board listens to, then you may need to ask them about that too. However, like I said before, according to Danielle Elks, the Executive Director of the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission, the city ordinance that banned brown-bagging was invalid since the city does not allow liquor by the drink. Trust me, I certainly hope she was wrong. I would like for them to be able to allow wine/champagne, but ban everything else. But my opinion may not be the majority, and that is really what the Board should listen to when they make any decision regarding our town.

    -- Posted by Thom on Mon, Jan 14, 2008, at 9:35 PM
  • Please read the article in today's paper about Chapel Hill. "Chapel Hill bans brown bagging; no action on beer"

    -- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Jan 15, 2008, at 11:10 AM
  • The reson I am concerened about the water issue is Bell Buckle wants no growth and we've been fighting this for a while now. I understand about there being more costs associated with maintaining the water lines but, they have done studies proving that water makes money.

    It's the same old story someone moves here, and doesn't want anyone else to move here. But like I said that's a whole other argument that I really don't want to get started. Let's worry about the brown bagging today.

    -- Posted by bell buckle09 on Thu, Jan 17, 2008, at 2:10 PM
  • Population growth would be a good subject for another blog. I will throw it out there soon. Actually it would apply to any community or county, so we should get some participation.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jan 17, 2008, at 8:03 PM
  • Good idea, now when is the meeting on brown bagging, I'd like to be there if I haven't already missed it. Thanks

    -- Posted by bell buckle09 on Wed, Jan 23, 2008, at 8:53 PM
  • Good question. I have been out of town and not heard anything. Anyone know?

    -- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Jan 23, 2008, at 9:32 PM
  • I read in the paper there is a study session on Friday Feb.1 at 10am, I wonder if it's about this. And since they want brown bagging that would be a great time to have it...while everyone's at work.

    -- Posted by bell buckle09 on Thu, Jan 24, 2008, at 6:28 PM
  • It is curious timing. Actually it is posted twice in tonight's paper and the second one says it has been changed to 8:30 AM.

    I didn't know they did anything at that time of day, but which one is the right one? With an earlier adminstration, I would have suspected a shell game but I don't think our current Mayor would do that.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jan 24, 2008, at 7:19 PM
  • I think your wrong he's in there with the rest of them. I've seen that first hand.

    -- Posted by bell buckle09 on Sat, Jan 26, 2008, at 11:42 AM
  • Mr. Web is not an everyday associate, but the times that I have had personal contact, he has been very straight forward and honorable. On any given day, in any given exchange, any of us might be interpreted incorrectly, but I have no information or experiences to say that he is less than an upright Mayor.

    I am SURE he would be interested in discussing your concerns with you. From the conversations I have had, I believe they would be sincere and productive discussions.

    The meeting that is coming up (Feb. 1) appears to be predominantly internal management issues, and not the brown bagging. That is not to say there will not be comments about it, but it may not be worth taking the day off to attend. The meeting HAS been rescheduled to 8:30 a.m.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sun, Jan 27, 2008, at 9:06 AM
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