Proposed lounge met with opposition

Published 10:34 pm Friday, April 15, 2011

MURFREESBORO — The fate of The Connection, a restaurant lounge planned for the former Jimmie’s Eats and Drinks building, now lies with the Murfreesboro Planning Board and Board of Adjustments.

On Tuesday, the Murfreesboro Town Council, in a 4-1 vote, approved to amend the Zoning Ordinance to include restaurant/lounges as a Conditional Use in Highway Business District.      

At a public hearing for the purpose of taking comment on the matter, Preston Harrell, on behalf of Chowan University, asked council members to consider not allowing another establishment that is going to serve hard liquor and entertainment.

“The full year Jimmie’s was open, we had 16 arrests for liquor law violations, the year before we had one, and the year after it closed we had two,” he said.

Harrell continued by saying that the year Jimmie’s was open the university had 65 disciplinary referrals for liquor law violations; the year before that they only had 26, and the year after it dropped to 32.

“There is a direct correlation between this type of establishment and problems on campus,” he said. “Likewise, we have a problem when we have a student go to one of these types of establishments, and I will admit I don’t have the best behaved students in the world, they get into messes with our local citizens and then the local citizens decided to follow our students back to campus and then we have a mess on campus.”

After some discussion between council members, Interim Town Administrator Richard Hicks said the Planning Board and Board of Adjustments would have to decide upon an application for conditional use permit, if one were to be submitted by the business owner.

Councilman Bill Theodorakis made a motion to accept the ordinance and it was seconded by Councilwoman Sarah Wallace. The vote passed 4-1 with Councilman Lloyd Hill voicing his objection.