Top Of The Dock Gets 3-Day Beer License Suspension After Beer Board Hears Complaints

Thursday, April 18, 2013 - by Gail Perry

The owner of Lakeshore Marina on Thursday told the City Beer Board that the area around her business should be beautiful, but instead the roadsides and parking lots are littered with trash every morning. Beer bottles and cans, liquor bottles, broken glass, fast food wrappers, and cardboard beer boxes, chewing tobacco and cigarette butts accumulate overnight in the vicinity of Top of The Dock, she said.

She said garbage spills over from the dumpster that they use and collects around it. Occasionally, cigarette butts thrown off the deck area land inside the boats docked below. Photos were shown of burned upholstery and carpet. The litter is concentrated but not exclusive to the parking lot that is used by customers of the bar. A requirement for holding a beer license is that the holder is responsible for cleaning up areas around their business that is used by their customers.  

The Top of The Dock is located on the upper level of the marina building and the lease was acquired by the new owner when the Marina was bought in 2011. Problems in addition to the ongoing littering complaint have led to a lawsuit and the lease has been terminated, yet the owner of the property does not  have access to that part of the building.

Owners of Top of The Dock have no insurance, the board was told. There also has never been a building permit for the deck adjacent to the indoor seating area, it was stated. The fire marshal put a restrictive weight limit on the deck limiting occupancy to 300. Indoor seating is limited to 94. At times more than 300 people have been observed on the outside deck, it was testified.

The owner of Lakeshore Marina made a slide presentation to show evidence of the problems that are said to be unending. In addition to the litter problem, customers leave the bar and use the fire exit to get to the marina bathrooms, then return to the bar. Surveillance cameras have recorded these people kicking in the doors and defecating in the hallway, it was stated. The door leading to the fire exit is required to be one way. The fire marshal told the board the door could have been propped or held open so customers could get back into the bar.

Manager of Lakeshore Marina Ronnie James testified that he or his employees have been cleaning up litter left in the parking lots and on the road. A large green plastic bag is filled about once a week.

Suzy Avis, a resident of Marina Point Apartments who also keeps a boat at the marina, said, “I have witnessed a lot of this stuff. I’ve seen people spit, flick cigarette butts, and seen people walk out with cups and food.” Ms Avis said she lives there and walks around the area and has seen the trash in the upper parking lot that is designated for use by Top of The Dock. She added the boat owners use two gated lots below that one, and they have adequate trash bins. She said no one would carry trash up the 40-50 foot hillside.

Tawanya D’Ann Thompson, owner of the bar represented by attorney Jesse Farr, told the board she did not sell beer in cans, and had a sign posted that says “no throwing of cigarette butts.” When prompted, she told the board that her schedule is different than that of the marina. Her staff arrives later and so trash is not picked up in the mornings.

On a vote of 6-2, with Chairman James Hobbs and board member Ed Townson voting no, a three-day suspension of their beer license was given to the Top of The Dock that will begin next Thursday.

A special events beer permit was given to Friends of the Festival which is organizing a benefit concert to be held on May 2 with funds going to the UTC Veterans Entrepreneurship course. This will follow the Armed Forces Parade in Chattanooga, which Karen Shostak told the board is one of only two held in the whole country. The event will take place at Engel Stadium from 5:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Overland Express will open the show at 7 p.m. with Charlie Daniels taking the stage at 8 p.m.  Tickets can be purchased at Kangaroo stations in the area.

Two businesses were given a beer license at the Thursday morning meeting. Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina at 2115 Gunbarrel Road, Suite 8 described their business as a quick service Mexican cantina. A consumer/carryout permit was issued to this restaurant. Maiz cuisine Mexican Grill at 5813 Lee Highway, Suite 4 was also approved for a consumer beer license.

Serving as the Wrecker Board, a wrecker license was given to Gordon Summey for his business Express Towing located at 713 Airport Road. He has had a towing company for the past 15 years and is currently on Chattanooga’s rotation list. The old location of his business is closing down and moving into a different zone.

 



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