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How Hall County retirement communities could be licensed to serve alcohol
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The Hall County commission recently heard amendment to alcohol codes that would allow senior living communities to get alcohol licenses, apparently Phoenix at Braselton was the community that requested this amendment. - photo by Scott Rogers

Hall County is considering an amendment to its alcohol codes to allow senior living communities to serve alcoholic beverages to residents and guests in dining areas.

The current ordinance requires restaurants to be open and accessible to the public in order to serve alcohol. Nonprofit clubs and events venues can also apply for alcohol licenses, Hall County Planning Director Sarah McQuade told the Board of Commissioners Thursday, June 10. 

“If you think about the model for retirement communities that are developing now, it’s so different from traditional assisted living communities,” McQuade said.

The Phoenix at Braselton senior living community brought the issue to the board’s attention. The Phoenix is a “big box community living facility,” said Scot Burton, who is the general counsel for Phoenix Senior Living. Some residents live independently, while others might live in assisted living conditions, he said, and the community has the capability to serve drinks at its restaurant, pub area and through other dining services.

“It is something our residents have been asking for,” Burton said.

Those living at the community independently are able to buy alcohol and bring it back as they please, Burton said, but they cannot be served alcohol on the premises until the community has an alcohol license. The potential ordinance change would allow the community and similar senior living communities in Hall County to apply. 

Phoenix has 15 communities in Georgia, and alcohol licenses are allowed for senior communities in many other places in Georgia, Burton said. For example, one of their properties in Cherokee County does have the ability to apply for an alcohol license, he said.