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Dance club may spark new policy in Hall
Board considers how to manage brown-bag booze at Sky City Jazz Lounge
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An Athens Street business can welcome jazz and dancing for now, but not alcohol.

The Hall County Board of Commissioners approved a 90-day business license for Sky City Jazz Lounge to test how weekend events will work for the location that has drawn complaints in the past.

"I can tell you, I live out there, and I know from driving by that there may be all sorts of good things going on inside, but we've had a lot of complaints about the congregating outside," said Commissioner Ashley Bell.

"We've been getting a lot of calls to make sure we don't allow this to get out of control."

Owner Melody Parrot, who uses the space as a banquet hall, wants to host live music on Friday nights. The business doesn't qualify as a restaurant and can't serve alcohol, so Parrot asked to allow customers to bring their own alcohol.

Hall County doesn't have a BYOB policy, so commissioners asked Susan Rector, director of the county's business license office, to check into developing an ordinance.

"I've researched 100 jurisdictions in Georgia and received a response to 50. Only five allow BYOB, and three of those only allow it at currently-licensed locations," Rector said during Monday's work session.

"It's up to the owner of the establishment if he wants to allow his customers to bring alcohol in."

Commissioners continued to ask questions and express concerns about unmonitored alcohol on the premises.

"I think 90 days with no alcohol unless they use a caterer is reasonable," Bell said. "Now I'd like to see us address BYOB in the next 90 days to have an answer when they come back. We need to figure out what the alternatives are in our county and make a policy decision."

Rev. Anwaan Hill, who represents the business, accepted the short-term agreement.

"A lot of counties operate on that 90-day grace period," he said. "One issue is dealing with what happened under previous ownership. It's the same building, which a year ago had a license as a banquet hall, but legally with events on Friday and Saturday, it's a dance hall."

Commissioners also want to monitor concerns about traffic and lighting in the parking lot at the location. Though business owners have agreed to outline the parking spaces and paint arrows to encourage traffic flow, some are still concerned about having enough parking for the facility.

"It's almost impossible to comprehend what will happen when 120-150 people try to park in the 14 spaces," Bell said. "I don't feel it is realistic. We know there are going to be that many cars."

Planning director Randy Knighton outlined ideas about using adjacent parking lots for overflow parking and explained how additional lighting will be added to the left side of the building.

"We can proceed to work out a parking plan," he said. "But it would be the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that traffic would not be impeded."