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Hookah lounge moratorium and 3 other things Hall Commission will consider Aug. 7
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Hookah is available at 787 Hacienda on Thursday, May 23, 2019. - photo by Austin Steele

The Hall County Board of Commissioners will meet Wednesday instead of Tuesday this week, and commissioners will vote on whether to temporarily ban business licenses for hookah lounges and vape shops, as well as an updated project budget for renovations at the Gainesville branch of the Hall County Library System.


Moratorium on hookah lounges to be extended, vape shops added

A temporary halt on issuing business licenses to hookah lounges in unincorporated Hall County, set to expire later this month, will be up for renewal until Oct. 10, if commissioners approve the extension Wednesday.

Commissioners will also vote to put a moratorium on business licenses for new vape shops, also until Oct. 10. Srikanth Yamala, the county’s planning and development director, said there are currently three vape shops in unincorporated Hall.

The extension will be used to give the county attorney more time to review ordinances in other counties and draft an ordinance regulating hookah lounges and vape shops in Hall.

Hookahs are water pipes used to smoke sweetened or flavored tobacco. While Hall does not have any hookah lounges, tobacco and vape shops have long sold hookah products.

There is no language in the county’s current business license code about hookah lounges or vape shops.

“Because we are updating our ordinance to include hookah lounges, the Board felt to also look at other nontraditional tobacco uses, and the vape shops also fall under the same umbrella,” Yamala said.

Commissioners approved a 90-day moratorium on issuing business licenses for hookah lounges on May 23.  


Gainesville library renovation price approval

Renovations are underway at the Gainesville branch of the Hall County Library System, which is set to reopen in late summer 2020. On Wednesday, commissioners will approve the “guaranteed maximum price” of the construction and construction management component of the project, about $4.4 million, now that subcontracting bids have been awarded.

The state has provided a $2 million grant for the renovations, with the remainder funded by city of Gainesville impact fees and county special purpose local option sales tax dollars. Zach Propes, the county’s financial services director, said the overall budget for the renovations is $5.35 million.

The library system has opened a temporary branch at 100 Brenau Ave., across the street from the permanent building.


Utilities relocation on Spout Springs Road

In order for the Georgia Department of Transportation to widen Spout Springs Road in South Hall, some county utilities, including sewer lines, will have to be relocated. On Wednesday, commissioners will vote to approve a contract with GDOT, agreeing to pay GDOT about $612,000 to handle the utilities relocation for the first phase of the widening project.

In the first phase, Spout Springs will be widened from two to four lanes from Interstate 985 to Union Circle, a distance of 3.2 miles. The project was deferred in July while an environmental permit is still pending.


Event venue on Chestatee Road withdrawn

The owner of a Gainesville bakery who hoped to open a small event venue at her property on Chestatee Road has requested to withdraw the application.

Commissioners will vote to approve the withdrawal Wednesday.

Kathleen Wedegis, owner of The Colored Egg, wanted to use a building on her 10-acre property at 3910 Chestatee Road to host events for small groups such as clubs or family gatherings.

Some neighbors said on July 25 that they were concerned about traffic on the property, and the application was tabled until Aug. 7.


Hall County Board of Commissioners

When: 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 7

Where: Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville

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