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Flowery Branch adopts new, 'cleaned up' alcohol ordinance
Older laws are fused into one, reducing redundancies
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As part of an agreement approved by the Flowery Branch City Council, the Georgia Department of Transportation will allow the city to mow areas around state routes. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

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Listen to JP Banks, project coordinator for the Drug Free Coalition of Hall County, as he talks about the city’s new alcoholic beverage ordinance.

FLOWERY BRANCH — Flowery Branch City Council voted Wednesday to fuse together a series of older, alcohol beverage-related ordinances into one law.

The changes include removing a requirement for a license for catering at an event where alcohol is served. City officials said there wasn’t much need, particularly as the state already requires a license.

The council voted 3-1, with Councilman Craig Lutz opposing and Councilman Chris Fetterman absent.

Lutz didn’t say publicly why he voted against the new law. But at the first reading on Aug. 5, he said while he favored consolidating the laws, he disagreed with the hours of sale for distilled spirits.

Operations for the city alcohol sellers and servers remain essentially the same.

Also, the proposed ordinance bans "adult entertainment (business) activity at a location that has an alcoholic beverage license," City Attorney Ron Bennett has said.

That section backs up a current city law that bans alcoholic beverage sales at adult entertainment businesses.

The new document also clears up certain redundancies and inconsistencies scattered among the previous laws, Bennett said.

The council also approved a resolution dealing with licensing fees, which vary from $700 for beer and wine retail and consumption to $5,000 for liquor sold and consumed on premises.

JP Banks, project coordinator for Drug Free Coalition of Hall County, showed up at the meeting to speak on the issue.

"Anything you can do to reduce the access of alcohol to minors, we greatly support," Banks told council members. "We look forward to working with you in the future."

The group, which is in its first year, partly works to put together educational events "not only for the public, but for vendors, and working with city governments like yourselves to help enforce the ordinances."

In other business, the council approved an agreement with the Georgia Department of Transportation that allows the city to maintain — mow mainly — right of way areas that have been kept up by the state, such as Ga. 13/Atlanta Highway and around Interstate 985.

In the past, the DOT has been "reluctant, if not completely against, the city maintaining any (state) right of way," City Manager Bill Andrew told the council.

"... Due the recent budget restraints with the state, they’ve reversed this (maintenance) policy and they’ve asked if we would enter into an agreement, we would be allowed, if not encouraged, to maintain some of these rights of way."

Johnny Thomas, the city’s Public Works supervisor, has said the work would require about three days per month of work, Andrew said.

"That’s mowing twice a month," he added.

The agreement dovetails with an effort by the city to coordinate work by a prisoner detail from the Hall County Correctional Institute.

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