Local liquor license laws change

April 24, 2018
St. Joseph, GA

By Brendan Welch, News-Press Now

At its first meeting on Monday, the new City Council of St. Joseph approved changes to the city’s Code of Ordinances regarding when a certain liquor license is required.

The changes mean a Consumption of Liquor License (COL) is required when food, beverages or entertainment are sold or provided for compensation, including a charge at the door, and “drinking or consumption of intoxicating liquor occurs in the premises.”

Council Member Madison Davis said the changes don’t really mean new rules, as they mirror the already existing state laws.

“If you have a business in which you allow people to drink on premise and you charge people to enter at the door, the way the alcohol inspector from the State of Missouri has indicated is that currently is a requirement,” Davis said. “You have a consumption of liquor license allowing you to charge people to enter the door and consume alcohol on the premises.”

The council approved the change unanimously at Monday night’s meeting, but it already had been postponed once and amended twice in the last two months.

Davis said he voted for the change because it will get the city in line with state statutes.

“The intent behind the ordinance that was passed was to implement a state law that’s already on the books and has been on the books for some time into a city ordinance as well,” Davis said.

When the ordinance was first introduced, Rodney Green, the operator of Planet Hip Hop rental hall on St. Joseph Avenue, was opposed because he felt that the law was aimed directly at his business.

“Is the purpose just to stop me from doing after hours for whatever reason?” Green said in an interview at the beginning of the month. “These are grown people coming in here having a good time doing what they want to do, and all of a sudden now, that’s a problem.”

He also said the original ordinance did not mirror state laws and caused confusion.

Davis, who represents the district that Planet Hip Hop is located in, said that Green was present at a work session last week where the law was discussed and a new amendment was decided on.

“We substituted to take out the language that he didn’t agree with, that wasn’t matching (state law),” Davis said. “The ordinance that was passed matches the state law as it is written.”

Some changes were made with the language of the state law in order to fit city needs.

Clauses that did not pertain to St. Joseph enforcement were removed, and authority given to the state supervisor of alcohol and tobacco control in the statute was given to the city manager in the city’s code.

These authorities allow the city manager or a designee to prescribe and receive applications for COL licenses.

The council passed all of the items on their first agenda except for four that relate to zoning code changes and definitions for tiny homes, small homes, shipping container homes and lot splitting.

Those ordinances were postponed until July 2 so that a work session could be held.

Brendan Welch can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @SJNPWelch.

SOURCE: http://www.mdjonline.com/neighbor_newspapers/extra/news/local-liquor-license-laws-change/article_77443dba-5245-5661-a95d-26e60b5a7e2e.html