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Hall sets Sunday alcohol sales vote for March 6
Voters will consider 4 questions
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Voters in unincorporated Hall will be able to vote March 6 on whether they want Sunday alcohol sales.

The Hall County Board of Commissioners voted Thursday night to put the issue to voters, along with allowing them to decide whether to permit liquor stores in the county and Sunday liquor-by-the-drink sales.

"After the vote on Tuesday in the (cities), our phones started ringing here quite loudly about why it wasn't on our ballot," Commissioner Scott Gibbs said.

"We had a lot of folks showing up at polls that were upset (because) they though they were going to have an opportunity to vote (on the issue)."

Voters in Flowery Branch and Gainesville approved Sunday alcohol sales by a large margin. Sunday sales also passed in Oakwood, but by a much slimmer margin.

The vote means that businesses that put alcohol on their shelves, such as grocery and convenience stores, now can begin selling on Sunday.

"What we're trying to do is get in line with what the other municipalities have," said Gibbs, who broached the issue before the commission.

"What we're doing (now) is we're limiting the number of businesses that are willing to come into unincorporated Hall County when they can go across the street to a municipality ... and locate their restaurants."

Also, the governments "get all the benefits of the taxes," Gibbs said.

"And these alcohol permits bring in a lot of revenue at very little cost to the county, so we think it's only fair that the citizens have an opportunity to vote on it."

Commissioners discussed the issue earlier this year, after Gov. Nathan Deal had signed into law the ability of local governments to put the issue before voters.

And they had talked about putting the issue before voters next year, as counties throughout Georgia normally hold elections in even-numbered years and cities hold them in odd-numbered years.

The county's vote will take place on the same day as the presidential primary.

"I hope it gets a fair shake at the ballot," Commissioner Ashley Bell said.

He said he knows of three or four stores in his district that are close to businesses in Gainesville that, because of Tuesday's vote, could feature Sunday sales.

"There needs to be some parity there, at least give (those businesses) a shot (at Sunday sales)," Bell said.
Gibbs also cited a South Hall example: A Kroger grocery store sits on Winder Highway in Oakwood while an Ingles grocery store is a block or so away in unincorporated Hall.

Hall voters will consider four questions in all: Sunday alcohol package sales of beer and wine, Sunday alcohol package sales of liquor, liquor-by-the drink on Sundays and allowing packaged sales of liquor.

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