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Gainesville shoppers may be able to buy Sunday alcohol by December
City will have first reading of ordinance at Tuesday meeting
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Gainesville residents may know when they can start buying alcohol on Sundays after the City Council's December meeting.

"I was watching TV, and Dunwoody will be able to start selling on Dec. 4," Mayor Pro-Tem Danny Dunagan said Thursday. "That's pretty quick."

The turnaround for Gainesville won't be quite as fast. The city must approve a new alcoholic beverages ordinance prior to setting an effective start date for Sunday sales.

City Marshal Debbie Jones presented the proposed ordinance to council members at their Thursday work session. The ordinance will have a first reading at Tuesday's meeting and a second reading on Dec. 2.

"We got the ordinance submitted and in place. It's pretty simple and straightforward," Jones said.

The ordinance details what hours alcohol can be sold in city limits, which mirrors state law, Jones said. Wine and malt beverages can be sold between 7 a.m. and 11:45 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Sunday. Distilled spirits have the same Sunday sale hours, but cannot be sold until 8 a.m. Monday through Friday.

"Restaurants have a different cutoff time (not in the ordinance)," she said. "The stores sell what they've been selling. You can buy a bottle of wine or a six-pack of Bud, whatever you need. But you have to go to the liquor store to buy a bottle of Jack Daniels."

The ordinance does have some restrictions on alcohol sales.

No alcohol can be sold on Christmas Day, Thanksgiving or within 250 feet of a polling place or building containing a polling place on primary or election days.

George Wangemann, who represents Ward 4 on the council, asked Jones to prepare a report on how Sunday sales were going after the first month.

"You tell us what you feel may be the differences from the old way of doing things to the new way of doing things, in terms of increased sales or additional problems this causes in the community," he said.

The ordinance also changes some provisions for businesses that want to change the managing agent on their alcoholic beverage license.

"The managing agent is the person whose name goes on the license," Jones said. "They have the day-to-day managerial oversee of alcoholic beverage sales ... that's the person, if there is an alcoholic beverage issue, who we would serve the paperwork to."

Right now managing agent changes must be applied for and brought up at a City Council work session.

With the new ordinance, however, the change would be brought up to Jones' office instead of having to go before the council.

"A lot of times we run into the end of the year and businesses are changing managing agents and sometimes that can put the actual (alcoholic beverages) license in jeopardy if we can't get that in front of the council before Dec. 31," Jones said. "Some of them, depending on the time of the month they file it, they may have missed a work session. It takes out that four-to-six week window of uncertainty."

 

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