04/05/07 — Residents will oppose alcohol permit

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Residents will oppose alcohol permit

By Lee Williams
Published in News on April 5, 2007 1:46 PM

Residents who oppose a 15,000-square-foot Hispanic nightclub under construction on N.C. 55 West and Jerusalem Road in Seven Springs are organizing to stop the club from selling alcohol.

Resident Blue Martin said he opposes Club 55 El Abuelo because he believes it could bring crime, traffic and noise to the area's rural community.

Club 55, which will be anchored on a 28-acre tract, will feature video games, pool, a dance floor, soccer fields, playground and go-cart track. The building, which will hold 834 people, will also offer event space for special occasions, officials say.

The club's owner, Randy Mills, 48, of Grantham, declined to comment about the establishment.

Martin said neighbors did not learn about the club until they went to the Lenoir County Planning Commis-sion to stop another club from opening in the area. So, he plans to start a 500-name petition to stop Club 55 from selling alcohol.

Once his mission is complete, Martin said he will forward the petition to the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Commission in Raleigh, which grants alcohol permits.

ABC Director Mike Herring said residents are welcome to file a petition to voice their opinion on the matter. He said the petition would be considered during the application process.

Herring said Mills has not applied for an alcohol permit.

"We have nothing on file," Herring said Tuesday.

Before they send the petition to the ABC Office, he encouraged residents to voice their concerns to the Lenoir County Sheriff's Department.

"Before he applies, the sheriff is going to have to sign off locally," Herring said.

Applicants physically turn their applications into the ABC Office.

Once the application is received it will be "investigated," before ABC decides to grant the permit, Herring said.