Wine in grocery stores a no go in Franklin County
After the Tennessee Legislature changed the law to allow municipalities to decide by referendum vote whether to allow wine to be sold in grocery stores, the issue is moot for now in Franklin County.
Winchester, Decherd and Cowan met the criteria — state approval to sell package liquor or liquor by the drink — to allow a referendum vote on the issue.
However, not enough signatures were garnered in any of the cities to allow the venture to move forward, according to Margaret Ottley, Franklin County administrator of elections.
Decherd, Winchester and Cowan had to receive enough signatures — 10 percent of those who voted in the governor’s race in the Aug. 7 election — for a referendum vote for the November ballot, by an Aug. 21 deadline.
In the attempts to collect enough signatures, Decherd received 30 out of the 59 needed to place a referendum on the ballot. Winchester had 76 out of the 257 needed, and Cowan received 18 out of the 57 required.
At present, wine can only be sold in liquor stores. But a state law that passed this year will allow it to be sold by grocery and convenience stores starting in July 2016 if citizens vote to approve the change.
Red White and Food, a coalition that lobbied for the change, said Tuesday in an Associated Press story that certifi – cations this week in Chattanooga and Memphis brought the statewide total to 75 communities that will be having referendum votes.
Here’s a list of the 75 Tennessee communities that have collected enough signatures to place a referendum for supermarket wine sales on the November ballot:
• Ashland City
• Church Hill
• Cumberland County (unincorporated)
• East Ridge
• Johnson City
• Knox County (unincorporated)
• Lenoir City
• Mount Pleasant
• Mt. Juliet
• Oak Ridge
• Pigeon Forge
• Pleasant View
• Red Bank
• Signal Mountain
• Spring Hill
• Thompson’s Station
• Union City
• White House To get the referendum on the November ballot, Franklin County needed 432 signatures from residents in the three cities. However, Ottley said, all the response was low compared to Coffee County. “Decherd, Winchester and Cowan will have another chance to file 75 days before the next governors election in 2015,” Ottley said. “You do have to be a registered voter and be a resident of the specific city you are signing for.”