Sports bar sparks debate

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 16, 2006

WINDSOR – The Windsor Board of Commissioners backed off two decisions last week.

After hearing from the Windsor Planning Board on two matters, commissioners chose to send the items back to the planning members.

Clyde Roger Acree came before the board requesting to put a sports bar in the C-2 district of Windsor. Acree said the bar would include big screen televisions, pool tables and other items and would include the sell of beer and wine.

The Planning Board unanimously rejected the proposal since C-2 does not include any provision to allow beer and wine sales.

Mayor Bob Spivey and Town Administrator David Overton stated there is a business in the C-2 District does serve beer and wine. They said the permit was granted by mistake, but couldn’t be corrected.

After realizing the mistake, the town of Windsor requested a change in the C-2 District specifically not allowing those sales.

Acree said he felt the decision was made before he walked into the planning board meeting and pointed out that Spivey was at the meeting and opposed his request.

Spivey said he was at the meeting as a private citizen and admitted he did oppose the changing of the zoning ordinance.

While Spivey said he was a private citizen at the meeting, the minutes, which have yet to be approved by the planning board, refer to him as the Mayor and referred to him making a statement about the specific ordinance.

According to the minutes of the meeting, &uot;Mayor Spivey stated the way the Zoning Ordinance is now written, it does not allow for alcohol to be sold in the C-2 District on premises, in that it is not mentioned in the ordinance, so it is not allowed.&uot;

After Acree made his presentation, Mayor Pro-Tempore Jimmy Hoggard asked if there was anywhere in town that allowed for an establishment such as the one Acree wanted. He was told there was not.

Commissioner O. Wint Hale said he would like to see a sports bar in the town, but if the sale of alcohol wasn’t allowed, he didn’t see what could be done.

Hale made a motion to accept the recommendation of the planning board, but it died due to the lack of a second.

Spivey then exhorted the board that a decision had to be reached and asked how they wanted to dispose of the matter.

Hoggard said, &uot;My feeling is that we have the cart before the horse a bit.&uot;

The mayor prom-tem then said he would not have agreed to prohibit the sale of beer and wine in C-2 if he had known there was nowhere in town that allowed that sale for a sports bar-type establishment.

&uot;We’re over-reaching there, I think,&uot; Hoggard said. &uot;I’ve been in one in my life, but I have seen nice ones. So many times we vote down things everybody else already has.&uot;

Commissioner Charles W.D. Fulk said he wanted to refer the matter back to the planning board for further review.

Interim Town Administrator David Overton said he wasn’t sure what the board wanted to be reviewed and members said they wanted Acree to present his petition again and see if they planning board took a different stance.

Commissioner Hoyt Cooper made a motion to send it back to the planning body with Hale offering a second. It passed on a 4-0 vote with Commissioner Bob Brown absent.

After that, Hoggard insisted he wasn’t ready to add the language specifically addressing the issue of not allowing the sale of beer and wine to the C-2 District and asked that it also be sent back for that purpose.

Hoggard said he was of the opinion that with the Windsor bypass coming through, the board would see things they had never addressed before and he didn’t want to restrict those future developments.

He made a motion to send the matter back to the planning board with Cooper offering a second. It again passed without objection.