By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
City council, staff discuss alcohol-related zoning changes
Placeholder Image
    On Monday evening, the Statesboro mayor and city council met with city staff to review the language of proposed alcohol ordinance changes and to discuss possible alterations to the zoning ordinances affected by the three proposed establishment categories.
    At the first meeting in October, the council passed on first reading ordinance changes that would create three separate alcohol license categories — restaurants, taverns and bars — and would disband the Alcohol Control Board.
    In anticipation of the second reading vote to change the alcohol ordinance and allow the three categories, council voted 5-0 at Tuesday’s meeting to approve on first reading changes to the zoning ordinance. Should other changes be voted in at the Dec. 16 council meeting, these zoning modifications would be made in order for the entire city code to be consistent.
    In the proposed changes, the rules for restaurants would essentially stay the same with the food percentage requirement being raised to 60 percent — up from the current 50/50 requirement. Taverns, on the other hand, would have a 35 percent food requirement and would be required to restrict patronage to 18-and-older after 10 p.m.
    One of the concerns addressed at Tuesday’s public hearing was that the 18 year-old age restriction is unenforceable. However, as the city code currently stands, establishment owners are prohibited from restricting patronage at any time based upon age. This means anyone of any age can frequent an existing alcohol serving establishment until they close at 1 a.m.
    While the bar category would carry no food percentage requirement, bars would be required to have a fully functioning kitchen and kitchen staff at any time alcohol was being served. In addition, they would be required to carry a menu of at least five menu items. Restaurants and taverns would also be required to offer five items any time alcohol was being served.
    Planning Director Jim Shaw issued a memorandum to city council Monday about the proposed changes to the city’s zoning ordinance as it applied to the two new proposed alcohol license categories: taverns and bars. Restaurants and taverns would only be allowed in three zoning areas — the central business district (CBD), commercial retail (CR) districts, and high occupancy commercial (HOC) districts. Bars would only be allowed in HOC areas, which comprise 5.27 percent of the acreage in the city.
    “That would limit them primarily to property along state highways such as North and South Main, East Parrish and Northside Drive north of downtown,” said Shaw’s memorandum. “Not allowing bars in the CBD, CR and LI (light industrial) districts will significantly limit possible conflicts with residential and low-impact commercial uses that may be adjacent or nearby.”

Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter