Chowan against opening of lounge in Murfreesboro

Published 9:45 am Wednesday, April 20, 2011


MURFREESBORO, N.C.—The fate of The Connection, a restaurant lounge planned for the former Jimmie’s Eats and Drinks building, lies with the Murfreesboro Planning Board and Board of Adjustments.

The Murfreesboro Town Council recently voted 4-1 to amend the zoning ordinance to include restaurant/lounges in the highway business district. At a public hearing, Preston Harrell, speaking on behalf of Chowan University, asked council to prohibit another establishment that serves hard liquor and provides entertainment.

“The full year Jimmie’s was open, we had 16 arrests for liquor law violations,” Harrell said. “The year before, we had one, and the year after it closed, we had two.”

When Jimmie’s was open, the university had 65 disciplinary referrals for liquor law violations, he said. The year before, there were 26, and the year after, violations dropped to 32.

“There is a direct correlation between this type of establishment and problems on campus,” Harrell said. “Likewise, we have a problem when we have a student go to one of these types of establishments, and I will admit I don’t have the best behaved students in the world; they get into messes with our local citizens and then the local citizens decided to follow our students back to campus and then we have a mess on campus.”

After some discussion, Interim Town Administrator Richard Hicks said the Planning Board and Board of Adjustments would decide on the application for a conditional-use permit, if the business owner submits one.

Councilman Bill Theodorakis made a motion to accept the ordinance, which Councilwoman Sarah Wallace seconded. Councilman Lloyd Hill voted against the measure.