The owner of the Sherwood Hills Resort says he may take his case to court unless the Cache County Council reverses a recent decision that denied him the opportunity to obtain a state liquor license.
John Booth said Saturday he has spent too much money on the resort to acquiesce to the Council's on-again, off-again decisions regarding the license.Late last year, the Council voted 4-3 to adopt an ordinance that would allow the sale of alcohol in unincorporated areas of Cache County. Liquor licenses can be obtained in incorporated areas like Logan.
"That ordinance was designed around Sherwood Hills, and they knew we would not purchase the business unless we were able to have a state liquor license," Booth said.
"Although the ordinance itself did not assure us a license, we were told that a consent would be forthcoming if we met all the requirements, which we have done," he said.
In December, the county planning commission approved a conditional use permit for the resort in the forest recreation zone which would have cleared the way for the liquor permit to be issued.
But planner Calvin Funk, who had opposed the conditional use permit, appealed the approval to the County Council, which voted Feb. 7 to uphold the appeal.
That decision made the resort's request for a liquor license null and void.
Six Council members voted the same way they did when the ordinance was approved, but a new Council member, Bette Kotter, cast the deciding negative vote.
Booth said he was shocked at the decision and believes it "was based on emotions and not on logic or facts."
Those opposing the zoning change said they were concerned about highway safety in Wellsville Canyon and the danger of increasing the availability of alcohol in the county.
And while Booth said he is confident his resort will make it without a restaurant liquor license, "it is like comparing a Cadillac and a Volkswagen."
Moreover, he said the Council has sent a negative message that cannot be easily repaired.
"Already, a Wisconsin company that sponsors snowmobile tours in Yellowstone, Switzerland, Alaska and Finland has pulled out of a planned visit to the resort," he said. "The company had planned to look seriously at Sherwood Hills as a possible base for tours, because of Utah's famous snow."
Booth said the decision also will hurt snowmobile rental companies, retail stores, gas stations and restaurants in the rest of the county.
He said he still holds some hope the issue can be resolved without litigation, because the Council has agreed to hear a presentation by the Cache-Rich Tourist Council, which supports the opening of unincorporated areas to liquor licenses, on March 21.