Jan. 14—MAGGIE VALLEY — Visitors to Tony's Tube World will be able to enjoy hot coffee beverages and a choice between sweet and savory crepes this winter.
Thanks to a change of opinion on the part of the two newest Maggie Valley aldermen, Harvest Moon Crepes will be able to sell refreshments at the popular winter entertainment venue whenever it is open.
Harvest Moon Crepes offers hot and cold coffee drinks, spiced Chai, and a variety of crepes such as the salmon-based Scottish Moon, the ham and cheese Moon Over Paris or a Strawberry Moon, a cheesecake crepe. All can be consumed standing up as they are served out of cups or easy-to-handle disposable cones.
At its Tuesday evening board meeting, the special-event permit needed by Harvest Moon owners Amy Deas and Dan Gulligan to operate at the tubing site was denied on a 3-2 vote, with Aldermen Jim Owens, John Hinton and Mayor Mike Eveland opposing the permit and board members Phillip and Tammy Wight voting in favor.
After weighing the decision overnight, Eveland said he called Town Manager Nathan Clark at 9:05 a.m. Wednesday to ask about calling a special meeting so the matter could be reconsidered.
At the 3 p.m. Friday meeting, Eveland started out by setting the record straight on the second vote. Reading from a social media post, he said, "It seems social media has the idea Mr. Justus (the town's attorney) approached the mayor and counseled him on the likelihood of a lawsuit. All I can say is that's not only not true, it never happened. I've not had any discussion with our lawyer in the last week about any lawsuits of any kind ... this wasn't about me wanting to change my mind. I just felt there was a better way to look at what we did on Tuesday night."
Based on a motion from Tammy Wight, Harvest Moon Crepes was granted a special-event permit that coincided with the operating hours of Tony's Tube World. The initial request was for fewer hours, but it turned out that was based on information the applicants thought the board would be more likely to approve.
"I would like to consider this as a test," Eveland said, noting there wasn't a single application for the pilot food truck program that was authorized to operate in town limits from early October through Dec. 31.
The Harvest Moon Crepes special permit granted under the outdoor sales ordinance is being viewed as a better test of the impact mobile food and beverage providers will have in the community.
Why the change?
Eveland said he generally feels good about actions taken during board meetings, but noted the special event permit vote wasn't in that category.
Both Owens and Hinton also had second thoughts, perhaps after the majority of the crowd at the meeting walked out after the vote, grumbling about the outcome.
"At the agenda-setting meeting, a fellow alderman made a strong argument concerning the impact on other businesses that struggle, especially during the winter months. I thought that was a fairly good argument, but I was on the fence," Owens said. "Plus, this particular ordinance was designed for merchandise sales. There's nothing in it about food."
In discussing the vote after the meeting, the newest board members concluded they had come down on the wrong side of the fence.
"I had struggled with it," Hinton said, noting he had mixed views on the matter. "After Jim and I talked about it, I got to thinking differently."
Eveland has long been a vocal critic of food trucks in town, reasoning that, unlike mobile businesses, they pay property taxes in the community all year long. He still is, and he voted against the special-use permit Friday, as well.
"This wasn't to change my vote," Eveland said after the meeting, "Sometimes doing the right thing is not about doing what you want."