Cumberland Times-News

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February 27, 2013

Proposed Ridgeley gambling hall, tavern awaiting state licensing

RIDGELEY, W.Va. —  Ridgeley council members agreed during a meeting Tuesday to put a No Parking sign in the alley near the proposed Canal Hotspot on 3 Potomac St. after resident Bill Shepherd informed them that gravel was placed there for parking.

Councilwoman Tanya Ryan questioned how far along Canal Hotspot got in the process of obtaining an Alcohol Beverage Control Administration license. The tavern nonlottery license is pending new application and the business does not have a lottery license, according to the ABC website.

Initially, when owner Tina Mays, who owns Mick & Tina’s Tavern in Slanesville, tried to apply for a town license, Tom Hedrick, finance commissioner, sent the check back to her. The matter was referred to an attorney, according to Mayor Jim Twigg.

Since then, Mays was granted a town license. “If they make proper application and pay the fees for a town license, we cannot deny them a license,” said Hedrick.

The only licenses that can be denied are for strip clubs, according to Twigg.

Resident Jacob Ryan questioned whether the council could revisit an ordinance to protect the town from future businesses like the Hotspot.

“We can, but our lawyer suggested that we cannot make any changes that affect this business here at this time,” said Tanya Ryan. “After this business decides what they are doing, then, yeah, we can look at ordinances.”

Before a town license can be obtained, a West Virginia business license is needed, according to Tanya Ryan.

“That is the only requirement that the town says you have to have,” said Tanya Ryan.

However, the town and the citizens can fight the ABC license for the proposed Hotspot, according to Councilman Lynn Carr.

“More than likely the ABC is going to have a public hearing on that,” said Hedrick.

In a previous interview with the Times-News, Mays indicated the proposed Hotspot would have five gambling machines and would be decorated similar to what it was like on the canal in the early 1900s.

Shepherd questioned if the alley is privately owned or was owned by the town. 

“That alley is a public alley way,” said Tanya Ryan.

A petition opposing the proposed business circulated by residents Shepherd and Butch Hawse in the summer was signed by 241 residents.

Also during the council meeting, Tanya Ryan, Jacob Ryan and Hedrick questioned why the names for the exemption letters for vacant properties were listed on the agenda, especially when the matter was being talked about in executive session.

Town Clerk Rene Martz spoke with someone at the State Ethics Commission and was told that the names can be on the agenda but the reason is private, according to Twigg. The exemption letters are from property owners whose properties have sat vacant for more than a year, asking to be exempted from the vacant building policy.

“I think the name should be private, too,” said Tanya Ryan.

“I was in here last week and we discussed tabling it until next week to have an executive session,” said Jacob Ryan. “I know me and three other people who are on this list are very unhappy that our names were publicized on the front of the building for a week. Our privacy was just ripped away from us even though it was promised to us.”

Jacob Ryan questioned why the Ethics Commission was even contacted.

“I don’t think it’s unethical to protect anyone’s privacy,” said Jacob Ryan.

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

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