JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Johnson City commissioners are considering a proposal that would pave the way for a small outdoor beer garden at Freedom Hall after a request to create one for this year’s Pepsi Fireworks Show.
Proposed revisions to the city’s Title 8 affect premises where beer can be consumed and would add a small area (about 34 feet deep) next to the civic center. A concessionaire already holds a license for Freedom Hall.
“The way the current ordinance is drafted is all beer must be consumed within the building,” City Attorney Sunny Sandos told News Channel 11. “The proposal would expand that…so that there could be beer consumption outside of the physical building.”
All requirements for Title 8 still have to be met, including distance from the school and school properties. But if the City Commission passes the recommendation, it would create a designated outside area where beer could be consumed.
The proposal stems from the Freedom Hall vendors’ request “that the patrons would be able to enjoy their beverages outside and still see the fireworks show if they could consume outside of the building,” Sandos said.
Commissioners heard an initial presentation but requested input from the schools and police, Sandos said. She said that’s now done and neither of them has a problem with the proposal.
“The schools do request that there not be any outside beer consumption when school is in session,” she said.
Barring unforeseen circumstances, the proposal would be considered at the next three meetings, meaning it could become law May 18.
“Seeing no opposition from the schools or police I would anticipate that that would satisfy the previous questions of the commissioners,” Sandos said.
She said one Freedom Hall parking lot has the potential to house a beer garden that would comply with the ordinance and state law. It’s a portion of a 134-foot parking lot facing what is known as Lot A. A 100-foot distance from school property is required, leaving a 34-foot strip next to the building, Sandos said.