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Alcohol Control Board on the way out?

    Once again, the changes to the alcohol ordinance were the major topic of discussion for the Statesboro Alcohol Control Board.
    At a recent meeting, the city council passed the first reading of an ordinance that would have the council take over most of the responsibilities of the board. This would include hearing violations and handing out suspensions. The alcohol board would be relegated to reviewing new license applications.
    Due to the recent revelations about state law, the alcohol board can no longer levee fines for alcohol ordinance violations. According to Sam Brannen, city attorney, that power rests solely with the municipal courts.
    It is still unclear whether the city council has the authority to delegate punitive powers to the Alcohol Control Board.
    If the board is limited to hearing new applications only, Brannen said, "The board will ultimately phase themselves out of business."
    By eliminating the control board altogether, board member Ray Fry said there would be "no representation of license holders on the council."
    Fellow board member, Nancy Waters agreed. "There is great value in having license holders [on the board]. They are working under the ordinances and directly experience the impact of the guidelines."
    After a bit of discussion, the board agreed to suggest to the city council that the board continue making recommendations to the city council and serve as its advisory board.
    In other discussions, Will Britt, council member, suggested via e-mail to change the alcohol ordinance allowing for alcohol sales on Sunday from noon to 9 p.m. He states that local owners and managers feel they are losing up to 5% of potential sales.
    “Missing out on 5% of sales. I can agree with that,” said alcohol board member and Appleby’s manager, Nate Williams. “It might even be 7-8%. I think it would be beneficial, though everyone would have to agree on it.”
    Most of the board members agreed to take a look at this topic at a future meeting and make a recommendation to the city council.
    In the area of license approval, first readings of the license for the Chili’s Bar & Grill and Rudra Krupa, Inc. Also approved for license on second reading was the Gnat’s Landing (to change license holders) and the Chop house on Main, which was approved with contigencies related to fire and building inspections.
    In addition,  special events permits were granted to the Averitt Center and the West Main Art Gallery for activities relating to FirstFriday event.  First Friday is sponsored by the Downtown Main Street program.

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