Cumberland Times-News

June 21, 2013

West Virginia regulators grant Canal Hotspot tavern license

Elaine Blaisdell
Cumberland Times-News

— RIDGELEY, W.Va. — The West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration has issued the Canal Hotspot a Class A/tavern nonintoxicating-beer-only license with restrictions, according to Gary Robinson II, a spokesman for the ABCA.

“After considering all the facts and after a thorough review, the license was granted with restrictions” on Wednesday, said Robinson.

Restrictions for the Ridgeley business require customers and employees to vacate the premises at 3 Potomac St. by 11 p.m., that customers be limited to three nonintoxicating beers and that the license be granted on a 12-month probationary period. During the probationary period, if owners Mick and Tina Mays don’t adhere to the restrictions, the ABCA could choose to take administrative action, which could include suspending the license, according to Robinson. ABCA officials will ensure that the restrictions are followed.

During a licensing hearing last month, Robinson listened as residents voiced their concerns about the business.

“Ronald Moats (ABCA Commissioner) went through the entire transcript from the hearing and spoke with Chief of Police Mike Miller and local agents. At the end of the day there was nothing to prevent the license from going through,” said Robinson. “Moats also did a thorough review of the situation, including looking at the application.”

Town zoning officials were also required to view the application and sign off on it, according to Robinson. The ABCA also conducted a visual inspection of the building and considered things like distance.

Of the 11 people who spoke during the May hearing, only one was in favor of the proposed business.

“It’s my feeling, that if they collected all the right permits, paid their licensing fees and were in the guidelines for the ABCA board to grant them their business, I don’t see why they shouldn’t be allowed (an application),” said resident Dallas Tabler during the hearing.

During the hearing elected officials said they stood behind the 241 residents who signed a petition opposing the Canal Hotspot. Newly-elected Councilman Bill Shepherd, who helped circulate the petition, voiced his concern about Canal Hotspot tarnishing the town’s name.

“For 60 years, we have been fighting a name that Ridgeley has acquired for all those years — as a place to come drink and gamble,” said Shepherd during the meeting.

The license includes only beer of .5 percent to 12 percent alcohol by volume, according to state code.

The owners will also need to apply to the West Virginia Lottery Commission for a gaming-related supplier license. Tina Mays indicated that the business would have five slot machines.

 Miller said at a previous council meeting that Canal Hotspot will have surveillance cameras located inside and out, which the police department may view at any time.

A call to Nikki Orcutt, deputy director of marketing for the Lottery Commission, was not returned Friday.   

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.