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Neighbors in Anthoston precinct react to potential wet/dry petitions

What is the next step for the Farmer and Frenchman? The owners were told a petition they were working on would have no effect on their Henderson County winery. Now they may be looking to neighbors for support.


Owners Katy and Hubert Mussat are going over their options, which boil down to continuing their appeal of the state's decision to revoke their retail drink license, or they can start over with two new petitions.


"We saw what a huge power Henderson can be when united on something,” Katy Mussat said at the Farmer and Frenchman town hall meeting Thursday night.


One petition would force a wet/dry vote for the Anthoston precinct where the winery is located in Henderson County. They could also petition for a vote specifically on their property.


Both would require the signatures of registered voters in the Anthoston precinct: a number equal to 25 percent of voter turnout in the last general election.


"Well, I think it's ridiculous that what they've had to go through. Henderson needs businesses, and restaurants, and wineries, you know, to help us grow,” said Robin French who lives in Anthoston.


Eyewitness News talked to others in the Anthoston precinct Friday, to find out whether they would support either petition.


"Absolutely would, yes,” French said. “I hope they can survive."


"I would be in favor of it, because I think people need time to think about it and make a choice,” Anna Manley said. Her husband, Ray, chimed in: "I don't want a lot of drinking and so on in the neighborhood, but something like this, the winery out there, I can't imagine that it would cause any problem in the neighborhood."


For some in Anthoston, the winery's ability to sell its product could have an impact on their future plans.


"In September, on September 22nd, we are getting married out there at Farmer and Frenchman,” Amie Young said.


She would support both petitions, but would like to see everyone benefit.


"I would say the whole precinct level. I mean everyone has an opportunity, you know, so it doesn't mean that there isn't somebody else down that way or in this area that's trying to start, you know, their own kind of establishment,” Young said.


If the Farmer and Frenchman moves forward with either petition, the owners would have till August to get the signatures, which would put the vote on the November ballot, or force a special election before that.


We still want to know what more people in the Anthoston precinct think. Vote in our poll below.


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(This story was originally published May 25, 2018)

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