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Study finds Williston ripe for a hotel

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Beer and wine sales pass; vote to repeal impact fees

By Carolyn Ten Broeck

The results of a feasibility study to determine if Williston can support a hotel are in and Tuesday night, the city council learned that all systems are a go.

The lengthy study, prepared by Hospitality Marketers International, concludes the demand for overnight accommodations in the city are sufficient.

The report also pinpoints four possible locations for a hotel: 1) the site of the now closed motel at “the top of the hill” at the intersection of US 41 and W. Noble Avenue; 2) a parcel of vacant land on the north side of US 27A; 3) a site located along SR 121 and is the now vacant Winn Dixie building and 4) the entrance to Kirby Family Farm, located at 9630 NE 30th St.

The study suggests that a 70-room facility would adequately serve the city’s needs. It recommends that rates range from $82-$99 nightly.

City Manager Scott Lippmann told the council that a hotelier and a local  businessman met yesterday to discuss a hotel being constructed in Williston. He said he was optimistic that things would move rapidly now that the study validates the need. 

Lippmann also told council that the study contains valuable demographic information that can be used to recruit or inform other potential businesses looking at the area.

In other business, the council voted 4-1, with President Jason Cason dissenting, to allow the sale of beer and wine in restaurants no matter where they are located.

Previously beer and wine could not be sold within 300 feet of a church, but the new ordinance eliminates that section. 

This will allow Pizza Hut to sell beer and wine at its restaurant on Noble Avenue. 

It was the chain’s management that first approached the city council to ask if it would consider changing the ordinance.

A restaurant, by definition, must earn 51 percent of its revenues from the sale of food.

In other action, the council voted 4-1, with Councilman Matt Brooks dissenting, to repeal impact fees on new construction and expansions.

A moratorium has been in effect for the past year after the council voted to return more than $100,000 it had collected in impact fees.