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Covington receives first draft of alcohol ordinances

Posted: July 5, 2017 3:48 p.m.
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Alcohol ordinances summary (Provided by the City of Covington)

COVINGTON, Ga. - The Covington City Council was presented with the first draft of the newly proposed alcohol ordinances which would allow for hospitality drinks and brown bagging at local retailers Monday night during its work session.

The ordinances will still have to go through a first and second reading by the council before it is enacted. The draft was provided to the council Monday to allow each council member the opportunity to review it before it is officially on the agenda for a vote.

After a consensus from the council, the first reading of the ordinances will be added to the next meeting’s agenda. That meeting is scheduled for July 17.

Covington City Manager Leigh Anne Knight said the draft ordinance was created based on discussions with council members, local retailers and survey results from the Covington/Newton County Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber sent out a survey to all chamber members in the City of Covington asking for feedback on the proposed alcohol ordinances.

“Now it's before you (the council), for you to read through, for you to digest and tell us what you like or don’t like with it,” she said.

The ordinances are split into three depending on how the alcohol is served: brown bagging, amenity drinks – free and personal service businesses (hair salons, nail salons, beauty shops) provide alcohol to paying customers.

Brown bagging

Brown bagging is only to be allowed at a business defined as an “art shop.” According to the proposed ordinance, an art shop is defined as “a retail business devoted exclusively to providing art education that is limited to instruction in painting, sculpture, sewing, embroidery, pottery and similar crafts; or to selling and displaying portraits, paintings, sculptures and similar artwork and crafts. An art shop may sell art supplies in addition to providing art education or to offering artwork for sale.”

An art shop that has applied for the $250 license, would then be allowed to offer brown bagging, according to the proposed draft, with the following regulations:

- No more than one bottle of wine and two unopened 16-ounce containers of beer, or the equivalent, could be consumed on the premises by customers.

- No customer of an art shop shall consume more than two six-ounce servings of wine or two 12-ounce servings of beer during a three-hour period or four six-ounce servings of wine or four 12-ounce servings of beer within a single business day.

- Art shop staff shall not store, keep or handle any wine or beer belonging to the customer.

- Any wine or beer opened at the business must be disposed of on premises and not carried out in an unsealed container.

- An art shop must have an established closing time of no later than 10 p.m.

 Amenity drinking – free

Store owners interested in obtaining a license for amenity drinking must meet the license requirements for anyone selling alcoholic beverages by the drink for on-premises consumption. Providing the alcohol must be a secondary function of the business and is not eligible for restaurants or other eating establishments.

A business that has applied for the $500 license, would be allowed to offer amenity drinks, according to the proposed draft, with the following regulations:

- The beer and/or wine must be provided solely as an act of hospitality and no purchase of any good or service shall be required to receive the beverage.

- The service of amenity drinks can take place no more than one day per calendar month.

- The ordinance would limit the service of no more than two two-ounce servings of wine or two four-ounce servings of beer to a person during a three-hour period or four two-ounce servings of wine or four four-ounce servings of beer to a person within a single business day.

- All beer and/or wine provided by the license holder must be accompanied by complimentary hors d’oeuvre.

- The business must have an established closing time of no later than 10 p.m.

Personal services businesses provide alcohol to paying customers

Personal services businesses are businesses such as hair salons, nail salons or beauty shops. Providing the alcohol must be a secondary function of the business and is not eligible for restaurants or other eating establishments.

A business that has applied for the $500 license, would be allowed to offer alcohol to paying customers, according to the proposed draft, with the following regulations:

- The beer and/or wine cannot be sold to any customer not purchasing personal service and must be included in the cost of a personal service provided to the customer.

- The license will limit the service to no more than two six-ounce servings of wine or two 12-ounce servings of beer to a person during a three-hour period of four six-ounce servings of wine or four 12-ounce servings of beer to a person within a single business day.

- All beer and/or wine provided by the license holder must be accompanied by complimentary hors d’oeuvre.

- The business must have an established closing time of no later than 10 p.m.

Councilmembers raise initial concerns

Councilwoman Hawnethia Williams clarified with Knight that the ordinance, as drafted is a citywide ordinance and does not limit any certain district. Knight said it would have been difficult to isolate it by zoning districts because of the way the city’s zoning map is currently set up.

“If you choose to do a certain district that is up to you,” Knight said. “We just wrote the ordinance the way we discussed it originally, which was citywide.”

Councilman Josh McKelvey said he had issues with the amount of alcohol allowed in the proposed ordinances.

“That’s not even a full beer, I don’t even see the point in serving,” he said.

The council agreed the drafted ordinances are a “good place to start,” and will hold the first reading to discuss changes to them Monday, July 17. The council will meet for a work session at 5:30 p.m. and then its regular meeting at 6:30 p.m.

Covington Mayor Ronnie Johnston said it is standard practice for councilmembers to receive ordinance drafts at the time of the first reading, but with these ordinances, they received the draft early to guarantee plenty of time for review. 

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1 comment
Watchdog: July 7, 2017 11:48 a.m.

Things have sure changed since the carpetbaggers moved in. I remember it was rumored the City refused to let Mr Jim Stalvey name his place, "Stalvey's Saloon".




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