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'Dive bars' banned in Conyers
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The Conyers city council spent its last meeting of the year adopting changes to regulations impacting dive bars, businesses that serve alcohol, pawn shops and taxi inspections in order for new requirements to take effect on January 1.

Several zoning ordinances were approved that will affect business that serve alcohol. Designed to reduce alcohol-related incidents, businesses that hold alcohol pouring licenses must send their employees to an alcohol education class. Any employee who serves alcohol will be required to participate in the class.

The council also adopted a new ordinance prohibiting the operation of a dive bar in the city limits. A dive bar is defined as an establishment where illegal drugs are found, possessed, used, kept or sold; persons are in possession of or are consuming illegal or unlicensed alcoholic beverages; persons are committing illegal sexual acts; persons are engaging in gambling activities; or persons are engaging in disorderly conduct or affray.

Conyers Police Chief Gene Wilson and his staff spent months updating the alcohol ordinance and followed ordinances established by cities including Duluth and Snellville. CPD officers will be visiting each establishment to notify owners and operators of the change and will then follow-up to ensure the owners are complying.

"It was an enormous undertaking," City Attorney Michael Waldrup said during Wednesday's meeting. "I can't help but think we are going to make adjustments to this as we move forward and as we become familiar with where issues may arrive. But this is a good start."

The council also approved a motion to increase several police department permitting fees.

Fees which will increase include the pawn license owner permit, which increased from $50 to $100, and a pawn employee permit, with increased from $20 to $50.

In addition, there is a now a taxi vehicle inspection fee of $75, and taxi driver permits increased from $20 to $50.