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Request to build sports grill denied

The McDuffie County Planning Commission unanimously rejected a request by a local couple to start a sports grill off Sand Hill Road in the southern portion of the county.

The commission panel's denial came after they heard a variety of comments from people for and against such a business last Tuesday night.

Making the request was Robert W. Thomas and his wife, Sebrina, who live on the 4500 block of Langham Road.

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas now have the right to appeal the decision to the McDuffie County Board of Commissioners. The commissioners meet again on Tuesday in the grand jury room of the county courthouse. The time of the meeting is 6:30 p.m.

Mr. Thomas had planned to build a neighborhood sports grill to provide what he called family entertainment. He said plans called from building a 4,000 square-foot single-story framed building and providing short order meals and such entertainment as pool, sports television, etc. He also said the establishment would sell beer to those of the legal age to buy it.

"By no means would this be a bar," Mr. Thomas said, noting that children would be welcomed.

He said he and his wife had discussed the idea for several months based on the traffic flow in the area and the fact that so many people living in that area ride horses.

"I believe it would be an improvement to our Happy Valley community and would have a positive impact as a neighborhood recreation place."

He promised that there would be no profanity at the business and no fighting.

"We just want a place where people can go and have a little fun as a family," Mr. Thomas added.

He provided the planning commission with proposed hours of business.

After Mr. Thomas and Fred Guerrant, county planning director, discussed the issue with planning commissioners, those opposed to a neighborhood sports grill addressed officials.

The spokesman for the group of more than a dozen residents against the idea was Ronnie Williamson, of Quail Farm Road.

Mr. Williamson, who works as a major with the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department, said the business could potentially breed an assortment of bad behavior, such as drunk driving, fights, etc.

He said in his opinion that the proposed establishment would be no more than a bar or a lounge.

"If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it must be a duck," Mr. Williamson said.

Web posted on Thursday, November 12, 2009

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