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Cold Beer Heats Up Manchester Aldermen Meeting

A change to a special permit request regarding cold beer sparked a somewhat heated conversation between Manchester's city attorney and a business owner.

George Randall of Internet Wines and Spirits is interested in opening a liquor store at 14201 Manchester Road. He is requesting a special use permit from the City of Manchester to open the store in the old Bassett Furniture Store, adjacent to .

At Monday night's Manchester Board of Aldermen meeting addressed aldermen about opening the business.

Randall already owns two stores in the St. Louis area and one in Illinois. He told aldermen his liquor store is the largest in Missouri as far as sales volume.

"We have been voted number one in beer, wine and liquor in St. Louis since we have operated in St. Louis," Randall said. He added that his stores have also received national recognition since they began operating.

"We are not a traditional liquor store. We have a wide selection, professional staff, competitive prices and a clean facility," Randall said.

However, it was the topic of cold beer that really got the discussion going.

Randall did not include selling cold beer in his initial application for a special to the Planning and Zoning Commission. However, the verbiage was changed to include allowing the store to sell cold beer when it was presented to the board of aldermen Monday night.

"I was trying to make it more precise," Randall said.

Since the initial application for the special use permit stated the store would not sell cold beer, City Attorney Patrick Gunn said Randall should take his revision back to the Planning and Zoning Commission for review before it was brought before aldermen for a vote on the permit.

Randall voiced concerns that he felt that process might take too long citing that he is a businessman trying to bring business to the city and that the owner of the building he wants to move the store into might not wait for this process to be complete.

"I have to spend week's going beack and forth. I got better things to do," Randall said.

Gunn raised his voice to Randall during that discussion.

"I don't need to be spoken at like that," Randall said to Gunn.

Randall and Gunn both quickly calmed down and Alderman Michael Clement explained that he felt this was a deal the city and Randall should try to work together on.

"Planning and Zoning was very enthusiastic about this application and I'd like to try and build on that if we can," Clement explained.

Randall agreed to the original application in order to get the permit process moving, but said he would go back to the Planning and Zoning Commission to address including the sale of cold beer.

"Why blow the deal over a two-door cooler?" Gunn asked Randall once he agreed to maintain the original application for the time being. 

Clement said the Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously recommended the board approve the original request for the special use permit to operate the business. A final vote could come at the next aldermen meeting.

For more details on Monday's meeting see the above agenda and supporting documents included in the PDF portion of this article.

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