City Attorney Cain Smith is scheduled to deliver information on options for rules on the location and operation of liquor stores in Statesboro to the mayor and council during a 3:30 p.m. work session Tuesday, Nov. 16.
This follows approval by 74% of participating voters in the Nov. 2 city election of a "package shop" referendum. No action will be taken on the topic this Tuesday, since it does not appear on the agenda for the 5:30 p.m. regular meeting. But the 3:30 p.m. work session, with reports to be presented on several topics, is also open to the public, in the council chambers at City Hall.
Mayor Jonathan McCollar, who also won a second term in the Nov. 2 election, has proposed creating an “ad hoc committee” for community input on the rules that will be built into the city's liquor store law.
"We will want to get individuals from the alcohol and drug abuse sector to have some conversation in this; we want law enforcement; we want people from the business sector," McCollar said in an election night interview. "These are some of the people that we want to add to this conversation so we can craft policy that’s good for Statesboro. That’s what’s important to me.”
Earlier that day at its previous meeting, the council unanimously directed Smith to bring information on other cities’ laws and regulations to the work session this week.
"Really, the material I’m going to provide is a survey of other cities’ liquor store laws," Smith said Friday. “The majority of them just defer to state standards, but a lot of them do have local enhancements.”
Among other things, some cities choose to regulate the distance between liquor stores, the total number of stores allowed and the size of the stores, in addition to restricting them to certain zones and certain hours of operation. What Statesboro will do remains for the elected council members and mayor to decide, in compliance with state law, Smith said.
He actually presented an informal survey of other Georgia jurisdictions’ package shop ordinances last spring, when Statesboro council members were still discussing whether to call a referendum. Tuesday’s presentation will build on that, particularly with information on what the city of Newnan, which is southwest of Atlanta, is doing, Smith indicated. Newnan voters also approved allowing liquor stores in a Nov. 2 referendum.
Smith’s information on package shop ordinances is one of four topics on the 3:30 p.m. work session. The other topics are Ogeechee Technical College’s robotics program, a report from the OneBoro Commission, and the process for the city’s housing rehabilitation program.
The 5:30 p.m. action meeting agenda includes the proposed final approval of the designated uses for the $12.3 million in special federal funding the city is receiving under the American Rescue Plan Act.
Other items slated for council votes include equipment and vehicle purchases and contracts for maintenance and renovation of city buildings and for a storm drain project.