County to ‘red flag’ ABC license, owner says noise only issue

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Covington County Commission on Tuesday agreed to “red flag” an alcohol license and ask the Alabama Beverage Control Board not to renew it.

MaryAlyce Outlaw presented the commission with a petition signed by 25 people who live near Rivers Seven, located on Indigo Loop, and asked that commissioners help stop the license renewal.

Outlaw said the business opened as a bar and grill, but is primarily a bar now. But the owner, Misty Lanier, said Tuesday afternoon she’s working to make it more of a restaurant.

In April, commissioners met separately with residents of the area, and then with Lanier, Outlaw said.

“The owners of Rivers Seven didn’t make any changes,” Outlaw said, adding loud and obnoxious music has continued.

“At times, it has been out of control,” Outlaw said. “If you check with the sheriff’s department, you’ll find that complaints have continued.”

Lanier, who was not at the meeting, said Tuesday afternoon that she opened with a partner, but now is the sole owner of the business.

“What I have always wanted was a family place,’ she said, adding that because of the complaints, she is pushing toward earlier hours by offering early bird restaurant specials, and family karaoke night, when kids eat free. Her best day, she said, is Sunday, when she can’t even serve alcohol.

Lanier said that even though the only complaints have been about noise, she feels that repeated trips by deputies responding to those complaints have hurt her business.

“They’re just doing their jobs,” she said, adding that deputies and ABC agents have been very nice to her.

But at Tuesday’s meeting, Commission Chairman Bill Godwin said Rivers Seven seems to be operating more or less as a bar.

“We were promised certain things would be done to alleviate problems, and they haven’t,” he said.

Commissioner Joe Barton said he has been there on two or three occasions to determine more about the situation.

“They have put up a privacy-type fence, but it doesn’t seem to have solved anything.”

Lanier said Tuesday afternoon she erected the fence/wall to try to block the noise that was annoying her neighbor. She is even moving the stage to try to accommodate him, she said.

On a motion from Barton, seconded by Commissioner Harold Elmore, the commission agreed to ask the ABC Board to red flag the renewal.

“The decision is not ours,” Godwin said. “The ABC Board will make the decision.”

ABC spokesman Dean Argo said Tuesday afternoon the ABC has not yet received the petition.

“We are aware through our district office in Andalusia that there are some residents in that area who are unhappy,” Argo said. “However, in order for the ABC Board to adversely act on a renewal, which normally is an automatic thing, there must be some lawful reason for us to do so. In this case, there does not appear to be any lawful reason not to renew.

“However, the petition, if received, will be placed in the folder and will be taken in consideration when the renewal is acted upon,” he said. “We have an agent in that district office that has routinely inspected the Gantt Lake restaurant, and has found at this point no reason not to renew the license.”

Lanier said the restaurant has long been her dream, and she is working hard to make it successful.