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Flowery Branch approves alcoholic beverage licensing fees
Council also to cut all other alcohol licensing fees by 10 percent
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Other business

In other action Thursday night, the Flowery Branch City Council:

• Approved a beer, wine and liquor license for Jackal LLC, which will operate as Green's Tavern in the former Grapes & Hops restaurant on Hog Mountain Road.

• Approved a contract with ISC Inc. to improve the turning radius on Spout Springs Road in front of the Stonebridge Village shopping center. That project also would feature new sidewalks for a short distance up Holland Dam Road off Spout Springs.

• Gave its first OK to a change in Sterling on the Lake subdivision's master plan to reduce housing density in one section by eliminating townhomes. The new plan, geared to making that section more marketable, also would feature construction of a 4-acre park.

Jeff Gill


At lower rates than first proposed, caterers now can sell alcoholic beverages at off-premises events, such as weddings and reunions, in Flowery Branch.

City Council voted Thursday night to give its final OK to the change in the city's alcoholic beverage law, then followed up by establishing a slate of fees.

Caterers wishing to sell beer, wine or liquor must pay a $150 license fee and $25 for an event permit.

The law also has a new provision allowing establishments to hold beer and wine tasting events, with a single permit costing $25.

Originally proposed charges were $300 for the caterer's license and $50 for the permits.

The fee reductions came about at the initial urging of Councilman Kris Yardley, who said, "Let's get crazy and cut (all alcohol license and permit fees) by 10 percent."

Councilwoman Amanda Swafford suggested cutting the new fees by half but other already-established ones by 10 percent. She said 10 percent wouldn't have much impact on the new fees because they are, for the most part, much cheaper than the current ones.

In approving the new fees, council members agreed to consider a resolution at a later meeting that would lower the current fees by 10 percent starting next fiscal year, which starts July 1.

They said they believed the new fee schedule would make Flowery Branch "more competitive" with surrounding jurisdictions.

In working up the resolution, City Attorney Ron Bennett said he did a quick check with several North Georgia governments, especially Hall County and Gainesville, to see what fees they charged for those permits and activities.

"I just (wanted) to make sure that the numbers we were putting in our resolution were consistent with what other jurisdictions were doing," he said in an earlier interview.

Council members said they believed the city could make up the lost revenue - nearly $8,000 if all the licenses on the books are all renewed next year - by bringing in more businesses attracted by the lower fee schedule.

City Manager Bill Andrew didn't quite warm up to the idea when council asked for his feedback.

"We could use the money," he said, referring to the lost revenue.

Andrew has said, however, that the changes in the alcohol law could benefit a variety of groups.

"With the hotel we have here, we've been wanting to make sure they could hold events like that," he said, referring to the Hampton Inn & Suites, which is off Holland Dam and Spout Springs roads.