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City Hall to begin accepting liquor store license applications Friday
Just 2 blank forms picked up in first 2 days
020222_PACKAGE_STORES_COUNTY_LINE.jpg
In this file photo, County Line Package Shop Manager Zachary Crafton, right, and employee William Banks, center, ring up an order for customer LeRoderick Jackson on Wednesday, Feb. 2. The Tax and Licensing Office at Statesboro City Hall can begin receiving license applications from the would-be owners of Statesboro’s first liquor stores when City Hall opens Friday for its normal 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. business day.

The Tax and Licensing Office at City Hall can begin receiving license applications from the would-be owners of Statesboro’s first liquor stores when City Hall opens Friday for its normal 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. business day.

City Attorney Cain Smith, during a City Council meeting March 1, said there will be no reason for applicants to line up earlier, even for the prospect of reserving a site with respect to the city’s 1,000-yard minimum spacing between package shops. Stores are also restricted to commercial zones.

“No sort of right vests upon receipt of application,” Smith said. “The location reservation only becomes a right, only vests, after approval by council.”

But if the number of people who picked up application forms the first two days that they were available is any indication, the line may not be very long anyway. The city’s application for new alcoholic beverage licenses, in the version now updated to include “distilled spirits package sales” was released Monday, March 28.

By 3 p.m. Tuesday, exactly two people had picked up applications in-person, City Clerk Leah Harden replied in an email. But the application is also available at www.statesboroga.gov/departments/city-clerk/tax-and-license-office, and city staff members have no way of knowing how many forms have been downloaded, she confirmed.

Harden and the city tax department had received no calls specifically about the application.

“However, we have received some calls inquiring about the ordinance itself, which has been uploaded to the website as well,” she noted.

 

Application requires …

The application packet contains 21 pages of forms. One is a financial affidavit, or sworn statement requiring a notarized signature, about the applicant’s investment in the business, sources of money invested and the identity of any other shareholders. Another is a consent form for the required criminal background check. The forms carry warnings about the criminal penalties for false statements.

A sketch with a registered surveyor’s statement that the site complies with all state and local distance rules is also required.

License-seekers have to pay a $200 nonrefundable application fee when they submit their application. But the $5,000 annual license fee for a distilled-spirits package shop will be charged only when and if the mayor and council approve the license.

City Council at its most recent meeting formally set the fee at that amount, the maximum allowed for a local liquor store license under Georgia law.

Because the application packet is used for all types of alcoholic beverage licenses, it contains a checklist of the fees Statesboro charges various kinds of operations, from $200 for a caterer and $750 for a low-volume server, such as a hair salon that serves patrons wine, to $2,800 for a restaurant, $4,300 for a bar and $5,600 for a pub.

A beer and wine package sales license costs $1,750, so the liquor store license is almost three times as costly.

City Council approved the new ordinance section March 1 after a majority of participating voters in a city referendum Nov.  2 authorized licensing liquor stores in Statesboro for the first time in memory.

 

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