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Distillery Debate Heats Up In Montgomery County

Posted at 8:02 PM, Nov 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-09 21:32:44-05

Spread across the countryside in south Montgomery County residential properties give way to church properties every mile or so.

It's why Mark Joyce decided to make it his home the past two decades. "It's a tight community," said Joyce.

However, recently developers eyed a 22 acre lot there as the location for a whiskey distillery. Residents aren't happy. "We don't want it in the community. It's basically less than 8,000 people," said Joyce. "There's fire hazards." 

"I would say the opposition to this is associated with moral values associated with the production of alcohol," said Clarksville-Montgomery County Regional Planning Commission Director David Ripple. 

Ripple said the the zoning commission has made a recommendation to the county commission to approve rezoning the property to agriculture commercial.

"Their intent is to produce a high quality, craft alcohol that would be sold world wide," Ripple said. The developers want to build a small facility, which would produce only 1,000 barrels of whiskey a month.

"So this use is not a Jim Bean, a George Dickel," said Ripple. 

He said a rural distillery would increase the surrounding property value and help support the economy and agriculture businesses, all while being made in Tennessee. However, it's going to be a hard sell to area residents.

"Tennessee grown means you can put it anywhere in Tennessee if you ask me. Why they can't put it in Clarksville is beyond me," said Joyce.

The county commission will vote on rezoning the property on Monday.