Saltillo mulls bar ordinance

By Cain Madden/NEMS Daily Journal

SALTILLO – A complaint by a local resident about a neighboring bar has prompted city officials to consider the possibility of a new ordinance governing businesses that serve beer and light wine.
While Mark Cash of Saltillo has had his newest neighbor for less than two weeks, he said he would have preferred the neighbor, Fugley’s Sports Bar and Grill, never have come into town.
But since the bar has moved in, he told the Board of Aldermen at its regular session last week that he’d like to see an ordinance making bar ownership in the city limits, or at least that location, undesirable for future owners.
“I would like to see something change,” Cash said to the board.
While he said he realized that there was nothing the city could do about Fugley’s, Cash said he’d like to see an ordinance that either prevented a bar from operating within so many feet of a church, or set a certain ratio that a bar had to have between alcohol and food sales.
In its location on Highway 145 – which has housed a long line of bars previously – Fugley’s sits within 100 and 550 feet of a daycare and church, respectively, and Cash said he felt like that is too close.
City Attorney Jason Herring said a municipality does not have jurisdiction over liquor sales, but that it can make ordinances dealing with beer and light wine, beverages with less than 5 percent alcohol by volume.
Mayor Bill Williams thought looking into an ordinance that requires a ratio between food and beer would be the best option, but alderman Terry Glidewell wondered how it would be policed.
Zoning, building and floodplain administrator Brian Grissom said policing it wouldn’t be too difficult.
“One way would be to audit the purchases a restaurant makes,” Grissom said. “It is a simple equation to figure out what they are selling. You can do it once a year or once a quarter.”
The board didn’t take any action, but Williams said the issue should be revisited.
“We have a reputation of having a wholesome, family friendly type atmosphere,” Williams said. “We want businesses coming in here that enhance that, not diminish that.”
Fugley’s owner Phebie Hollis, who wasn’t present at the meeting, said she wasn’t aware she had caused a stir during the bar and grill’s first weekend of operation in Saltillo.
“I just hope people will give us a chance,” she said. “We are not some hole-in-the-wall operation – we have come in, brought everything up to code and have cooperated with the law.”
Hollis said Fugley’s operated for eight years in Tupelo without causing neighbors any problem.
While there, they aimed to be good citizens, including holding benefits for charitable causes, Hollis said.
“We are not bad people,” she said.
Hollis said Fugley’s had always hit the ratio between food and alcohol sales set forth by Lee County.
“Once we get settled in, we are going to be offering plate lunches, catering to the factory workers,” Walker said. “We hope to do some good here and help a growing community.”

Contact Cain Madden at (662) 678-1582 or cain.madden@journalinc.com.