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Pembroke restaurant to have beer, wine
Council paves way for a first
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The Pembroke City Council on Monday paved the way for the city’s first restaurant that serves beer and wine after members approved an alcohol permit for JB’s Lounge and Dine, a new establishment opening on North Main Street.  
Gareth Collins, the owner of JB’s, still has to get the appropriate alcohol license from the state before he can start serving alcohol, said City Administrator Frank Etheridge at Monday night’s meeting.
“This is just a step in the process before he approaches the state,” he said.
Collins also has to provide the city with a copy of his state alcohol license before he can serve alcohol. Other city restrictions mandate that more than half of Collins’s sales must come from food.
It’s not clear when the restaurant will open. Collins did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
There is not one restaurant in Pembroke that serves alcohol, though there has been an ordinance on the books to allow for one since 2005, Etheridge explained after the meeting. The city council approved the alcohol license law five years ago after a prospective restaurant owner wanted to serve beer and wine, though that applicant was later withdrawn. Pembroke was a dry city before the 2005 law.
Councilmember Johnnie Miller said he toured JB’s Lounge and Dine and spoke to Collins about some of his concerns. He noted that the restaurant will be a nice place to watch a sports game.
“It seems to be real nice and real ordinary,” he said. “It’ll probably be a first for Pembroke.”
Also on Monday, the Pembroke City Council turned down a zoning variance application to split a resident’s half-acre lot into three sections. 
C.C. Singleton applied to divide his property, which has three small dwellings on it, on Singleton Lane into three lots. But council members turned him down, saying it would make the dwellings non-conforming to city code, meaning that Singleton could maintain them but never rebuild them.
Etheridge said if Singleton’s property was divided into three lots, it would not meet the minimum setback requirement dictated in the city code.
“It’s not large enough,” he said of the property.
Residential lots have to be at least 100 feet wide and 120 feet deep, Etheridge said. If Singleton’s property was divided into three sections, two of the lots would not meet width requirements and the third would not be deep enough. But Singleton could divide his half-acre property into two lots to meet the setback requirements, Etheridge and council members said.
The city’s planning commission recommended that the city council deny Singleton’s request for the variance. At first, the motion did not pass because only two council members, Angela Reed and Dianne Moore, voted to deny application. Miller abstained from the vote, and council members Tiffany Walraven and Douglas Kangeter were absent on Monday.
After some discussion, a re-vote was taken and the motion carried 3-0.
All three of Singleton’s small dwellings, one of which is a trailer, were built before the city’s existing code was adopted, meaning Singleton’s property was grandfathered in, Etheridge said.
Singleton said that he wants to split up his property so he can sell it. 
Mayor Judy Cook told Singleton that she wished that the city could help, but members did not want to open the city up to similar applications.
“We would be setting a dangerous precedent,” she said.
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