A bill recently signed by Governor McDonnell will soon allow new restaurants and businesses in the area to obtain an ABC license.
The ban that will be lifted in Montgomery County will permit liquor sales outside of the towns of Christiansburg and Blacksburg. Currently, only restaurants that operate in these towns can serve alcoholic beverages by the drink.
The new regulations would go into effect on July 1 of this year. The bill would specifically affect the Radford exit (Exit 109) and the Ironto exit (Exit 128). It only allows for ABC licenses to be purchased for the area within 1,000 feet of the exits.
These exits don't currently have any major chain restaurants or hotels, but local officials hope that by lifting the ban, the area will become more attractive for new businesses.
Businesses looking to obtain an ABC license in the state of Virginia must go through several steps of an application. Among other rigorous measures, businesses must post a notice of application on the front door of the establishment for 10 to 30 days, as well as publish the notice of the application twice in a local newspaper.
“The goal would be to grow the interchange area and collect additional revenue by attracting new business to the area,” said Brian Hamilton, Director of the Department of Economic Development of Montgomery County.
According to Hamilton, Christiansburg brings in around $9 million in meal taxes every year, while Blacksburg brings in around $6 million. However, without having been able to sell liquor by the drink, Montgomery County typically could only bring in $200,000.
Senator John Edwards carried the bill in the Senate, while Joseph Yost, 12th district delegate for Montgomery County, introduced it in the General Assembly.
“The hope is that this will attract restaurants that can locate at those two exits and provide revenue for the county so we don’t have to continually increase our revenue in other areas,” Hamilton said.