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Open containers downtown gets Flowery Branch City Council’s first OK
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Allowing the carrying of alcohol beverages in open containers within a designated downtown dining district got the Flowery Branch City Council’s first approval Thursday, March 1.

The change was approved as part of larger rewrite of the city’s alcoholic beverage code.

Council members didn’t comment on the issue, first brought up at a January work session.

But they heard from a downtown business owner, who lauded the move.

“I’d like to commend the council and everybody who put this (ordinance) together,” said Karen Ching, owner of Liberty Candy Co. and Lakeside Market on Main Street. “I think it’s really going to finally promote downtown businesses and get the crowds coming this way a little bit. I really appreciate it.”

The council took a separate action to approve the downtown dining district, which is bounded by parts of Railroad Avenue, Chestnut Street, Mitchell Street, Pine Street, Gainesville Street and Knight Drive. 

The area encompasses the downtown business district and the area where the new City Council and Pine Street extension are being built.

“It also sets an area where there can be bars and taverns — establishments that don’t have a food requirement,” City Attorney Ron Bennett said.

“It would not include any of the residentially zoned parcels,” said Rich Atkinson, director of planning and community development.

The code changes also would put new regulations on special events, regulate patrons of art shops who would like to bring in malt beverages or wine, and increase the daily sampling amount allowed at a growler.

Employees in any establishment serving alcohol would be required to get a pouring permit, which allows the city to check state records to see if the individual has a history of serving alcohol to minors or over-serving customers.

The rewrite comes at a time when the new City Hall, although recently beset by delays, is expected to open early this year, along with the Pine Street extension.

The moves are expected to open more downtown space to private businesses. 

At Main and Mitchell streets, Ching is working with her son, Robert Sabbath, and his business partner, Marc Stampfli, to build out three commercial spaces that would include a growler bar owned by Sabbath and Stampfli, a pizza shop and office space.

The pizza shop would be called Peyton’s Pie Co., owned by Nick and Alison St. Clair, who also own Antebellum, Flowery Branch’s renowned Southern restaurant.