The Senoia City Council took action Monday night to further loosen restrictions on the consumption and sale of alcohol in the city.
The council gave final approval to two ordinances regulating alcohol sales in restaurants, and voted to approve the first reading of an ordinance that would allow open containers of alcohol in a designated area.
The ordinance allowing restaurants to sell packaged alcohol to go is now in effect. Any business in Senoia that has a license to serve beer and wine for consumption on site can now sell package beer and wine to go, with few restrictions. Package liquor cannot be sold.
An ordinance that moves up the time that alcohol can be sold on Sundays will have to be approved by voters in November before it can take effect. Under current law, alcohol cannot be sold until 12:30 p.m. on Sundays. If approved by voters in November, that time will be changed to 11 a.m.
The open container ordinance is just the first step in allowing those in Senoia to be on public streets and sidewalks with alcohol.
Under the ordinance, open containers of alcohol could be allowed in a “special entertainment district.”
A special entertainment district would be a zoning overlay, and creating one would be similar to a rezoning, with public hearings required, according to City Attorney Drew Whalen.
The city already has provisions that allow open containers at certain events, and open containers are allowed at certain events at Marimac Lakes Park.
A few years ago, there was talk of creating a special entertainment district on the lower part of Main Street, but there was some opposition by business owners, Whalen said.
Marimac Lakes was set up as a special entertainment district “to be able to prove to the public that it could be done in a responsible and an accountable manner, and it has been,” Mayor Jeff Fisher said after the meeting. “All we’re basically doing is picking that up and bringing that over here, allowing it to be downtown.
“Ordinances like this evolve,” he said. “It can be done in a responsible way and if it’s not, it will be rescinded."
In other meeting business:
• Fisher announced that the fireworks show, postponed from Memorial Day because of weather, will be July 28 at Marimac Lakes.
• The council voted to appoint Jennifer Meares and Phil Downey to the Senoia Development Authority.
“Both Jennifer Meares and Phil Downey have displayed a lot of energy and a lot of talent by volunteering in our town over the last number of years,” Fisher said. “I think they would be a perfect fit for this board."
• The council voted to cancel the July 2 meeting.