Friday, January 18, 2013

January 18, 2013 New Liquor Referendum in Pigeon Forge on March 14, 2013

Pigeon Forge and Liquor-by-the-Drink.

Two Liquor-by-the-Drink Referenda failed (2009 and 2011).

Normally, Pigeon Forge would have had to wait two years--May 2013--to hold another referendum. However, various lawmakers at the state level maneuvered legislation through so that a new referendum could be held in November 2012.

The November 6, 2012, LBTD Referendum took place. LBTD passed by 100 votes, but an election contest was filed in Sevier Chancery Court by Concerned Churches and Citizens of Pigeon Forge claiming that around 300 votes had been cast in the referendum by ineligible voters who did not reside and did not own property in Pigeon Forge.

On the eve of the election contest trial, the Defendant Sevier County Election Commission asked their attorney to stipulate or agree that the results of the election were "incurably uncertain."

The November referendum was then voided on January 10 by Chancellor Telford Forgety and a new referendum ordered to be held.
The new referendum is set for March 14, 2013.

The NS has the article here.

That this referendum will be closely watched is probably an understatement.

And left unresolved from the last referendum is the issue of "1% voters."

Just prior to the last referendum, several deeds conveying 1% of valuable commercial tracts to non-Pigeon Forge residents were executed.

As owners of property in Pigeon Forge, these "1 percenters" had the right to vote in the Pigeon Forge LBTD referendum. Interestingly, some of the "1% owners/voters" deeded their property back to the original owner right after the November referendum.  A follow-up discussion of this aspect of the voided referendum is here.

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