SALEM - City council agreed Tuesday to support efforts by the new owner of Timberlanes to secure a liquor license for the facility which housed a hotel, lounge, restaurant and banquet center.
Law Director Brooke Zellers told council the city was approached by Brooke Pidgeon, who purchased the property in July, regarding his attempt to use a unique portion of the law to secure licensing for the facility to be able to serve alcohol.
He explained that state statute allows a liquor license to be transferred from another part of the state for economic development purposes and that's the avenue Pidgeon is trying to take. In this case, the reopening of Timberlanes could create jobs and generate tax revenue for the city.
When asked what happened to the previous liquor license for the property, Zellers said the license lapsed without being renewed.
The number and type of liquor licenses permitted in a community are limited by population and apparently there isn't one available at the moment for the Timberlanes site, according to Zellers, without going outside the area. He said there's one available in Hamilton County that Pidgeon is trying to secure, but the transfer application requires the blessing of the municipality where the license will be transferred.
He put together a letter for Mayor John Berlin to sign that will be sent with the application, indicating the city's support. The state Division of Liquor Control will make the determination whether the criteria for economic development have been met and whether the license can be transferred.
A Salem staple for many years since opening in 1962, Timberlanes has remained closed since 2009 when it was placed in receivership, leaving the city with no motel.
In other business, Zellers updated council members on the status of the TanFastic building case, which he said he asked a judge to reopen because the owners didn't live up to the agreement the city made with them earlier this year to settle the case.
The city had filed a lawsuit against the owners in an effort to have them ordered to make repairs or demolish the building. Earlier this year, in an agreement, they were given six months to do the work, but the deadline passed, prompting Zellers to make the request to reopen the case.
He said no decision has been made. He also said he and Berlin were working on something behind the scenes to try to bring closure to the situation. The falling bricks from the west wall of the downtown building damaged the Butler Museum of American Art facility next door, forcing its closure. More recently, bricks fell on the sidewalk, which has been cordoned off by the city due to safety concerns.
During Tuesday's meeting, city council also approved an ordinance allowing the auction of a 1996 Dodge Ram 2500 extended cab pickup with a snow plow attached. The truck had been part of the fire department's fleet, but was recently retired when a new truck was purchased.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org