In September, Amrish Patel, owner of the Econo Lodge Motel and the adjacent building formerly used as a restaurant, with a liquor license, appeared before the Greenville City Council requesting that the council eliminate the requirement that a restaurant liquor license holder have 51 percent of all sales be food.
Patel reported he has been unable to lease the restaurant for over 22 months, he believes because of the food issue. He thinks he can attract someone to lease it if the liquor license was adjusted to allow the operation of a sports bar.
The city council talked about the request during its October and November meetings.
This month, City Manager Dave Willey presented 2 options to consider and it was the consensus of the council to have the plan commission review one of them that directly addresses Patel’s request.
Willey said that option would create a hotel/motel liquor license, allowing a hotel/motel operator, or a property adjacent to a hotel/motel, to open an establishment that could serve liquor by the drink and not have the same food requirement that a restaurant license has.
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At the November meeting, Councilman Jess Adam renewed his stance on the issue to go ahead and make the change to lower the percentage of food needed to be sold by a restaurant with a liquor license.
Adam said granting Patel’s request and eliminating the food requirement would give establishments a bit more freedom. He said the council’s response so far, albeit well-developed, has been to create more conditions and more ordinances. “He asked us to remove something and instead of doing that, we’re creating a whole bunch more,” he said. “He’s asked for a little bit more freedom and we’re giving him freedom tied to a bunch of ordinances.”
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A special meeting of the plan commission, to discuss the issue, will be held December 7 at 7:00 p.m.