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Franklin approves brunch bill with little fanfare

The Franklin Town Council unanimously approved the local adoption of the brunch bill, which will allow restaurants and stores to begin selling alcohol at 10 a.m. Sundays instead of waiting until noon.

The town council held a public hearing regarding the proposed change during its Monday night meeting, but no one spoke up against the measure.

Bill Van Horn said he was in favor of the bill because it would benefit local businesses and better cater to the tourists who help support the local economy when they’re visiting.

“Just like I enjoy a glass of wine or a beer with my dinner, I have friends from outside town who live in big cities — if I took them to brunch they’d like to have a cocktail with their meal,” he said.

Lenny Jordan, a co-owner of Lazy Hiker Brewing — Franklin’s first craft brewery — said he supported passing the brunch bill even though it will have little impact on his business. With the competitive nature of the tourism industry in Western North Carolina, Jordan said Franklin needed to be able to compete with Asheville and other neighbors.

“Tourism is our business — this aligns us in a favorable light with other locations,” he said.

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When Mayor Bob Scott asked the board if there was any further comment on the brunch bill, there was no other discussion to be had.

Councilmember Barbara McRae said she hadn’t heard of any opposition since the town first brought up the subject last month.

“Seems like most people are in favor of it,” she said.

Her motion to pass the brunch bill passed unanimously — Councilmember Billy Mashburn was not present for the meeting.

Franklin joins Waynesville and Sylva in passing the local measure. The issue caused more contention in Bryson City — local businesses requested the town pass the measure and other business owners backed them up, but ultimately the board decided selling alcohol earlier on Sunday was not acceptable for the religious community of Swain County.

Only Alderman Heidi Woodard-Ramsey voted in favor of it.

The religious community in Canton is also encouraging the town aldermen there to vote no on the brunch bill, but the decision has been put off until a public hearing is held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12.

Maggie Valley will hold a public hearing on the same issue at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 9, during its regular board meeting.

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