By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Council passes first vote to abolish Alcohol Control Board
Placeholder Image
    The Statesboro City Council took another big step forward Tuesday toward completely revamping the city’s alcohol ordinances as they passed the first reading of an amendment which would disband the Alcohol Control Board and pave the way for bars to open within the city limits.
    The reason for disbanding the ACB, given by Councilman Will Britt when he originally brought up the idea in a surprise move during council’s other business at a September meeting, was that most functions of the ACB were already being duplicated by either city staff or council. Britt said he thinks this move will help remove administrative layers within city government.
    The measure passed the first reading by a 4-1 vote, with Councilman Tommy Blitch being the lone dissenter. Before he voted against the measure, Blitch said he felt the ACB was needed to provide a voice to the community.
    In the wording of the proposed amendment, three categories of alcohol licenses would be created – restaurants, taverns and bars. Under the new categorization, restaurants would be required to generate at least 60 percent of their gross receipts from food sales and would essentially operate the same way restaurants now do. Taverns would have to generate at least 35 percent of their gross receipts from food sales and would prohibit patrons under the age of 18 after 10 p.m. Bars would have no food percentage requirement but would only be open to patrons over 21.
    City Manager Shane Haynes said the city still needs to determine which zoning classifications are suitable for each category. In addition, they need to set occupancy load standards and parking requirements for each. As a result, the council decided to call a workshop for the beginning of December to address these issues.
    The original wording of the restaurant section had the food percentage requirement set at 50 percent, meaning 50 percent or more of gross sales must come from the sale of food. However, Councilman Travis Chance motioned for an amendment to raise the percentage to 60 percent. He said he talked to some restaurant owners, including Jim Lanier of Loco’s Pub & Deli, who wanted to further distinguish between true restaurants and taverns.
    The amendment passed 5-0.
    Also at the meeting, the council passed two measures that have been before the council for the past two meetings. First, a change was made to allow alcohol to be served on Saturday until 1 a.m. Also added was a provision that requires establishments to remove all alcohol beverages from tables by 2 a.m. – something that until now has been an understood rule instead of an enforceable one.
    The other, which should be of interest to license holders, is that excise tax reports for the sale of liquor will now only need to be filed on a quarterly basis. According to Haynes, those licensees that have not yet been turned in their October monthly may do so in a quarterly report due by Jan. 20, 2009. This report would include the months of October, November and December.
    Mayor Bill Hatcher said he thinks changing the alcohol ordinance in such a drastic way demands that the council allow the public to voice their opinions. As a result, on Dec. 2 at 6 p.m., the council will hold a public hearing to allow individuals to express their support for or opposition to the amendments to the ordinance.
    Council members have requested that the general public give them feedback on the proposed ordinance changes before they meet for their workshop. They can be reached at the following addresses: Mayor Hatcher –; Tommy Blitch –, Gary Lewis –, Will Britt –, Joe Brannen –, Travis Chance –

Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter