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Posted: November 7, 2012 12:53 a.m.

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Residents approve alcohol by the drink

Newton County residents spoke loud and clear Tuesday night passing all three alcohol amendments on this year's ballot. Voters approved alcohol by the drink in Newton County with 68.93 percent support, alcohol by the drink on Sundays with 64.25 percent and Sunday packaged sales with 64.79 percent.

What it will do?
Now unincorporated Newton County joins the cities of Covington, Porterdale and Social Circle in allowing establishments to sell alcohol by the drink.

Even so, the sale of alcohol will be severely limited by the ordinance that will regulate such sales.

The board of commissioners has already passed an ordinance that will go into effect if voters approve alcohol by the drink. The ordinance only allows alcohol by the drink sales in designated development areas. As of now, the only areas that are zoned that way are portions of the Almon Road corridor and Stanton Springs industrial park, though the Salem Road corridor will soon be designated a development area as well.

The alcohol ordinance further restricts location by not allowing alcohol to be sold within 300 feet of schools, churches, libraries, public housing and alcohol treatment centers, nor within 100 feet of a private residence.

Finally, the ordinance is written specifically to prevent bars from forming. Restaurants must make at least 50 percent or more of their profit from food sales, depending on their size.

Taken together, the ordinance will only allow pure restaurants to be located in very specific commercial corridors.

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