Distilled Spirits Ordinance Details Finalized, Attorney Is Reviewing
By REBECCA HAZEN
The City of Trenton Commission and the Planning Commission met for a work session to discuss the distilled spirits sales ordinance on Tuesday, March 15. After three joint meetings, all details were finalized.
The two commissions ultimately decided to not limit the amount of liquor stores in the city limits.
“Whether we put a limit on the buildings or not, it’s limited just in the qualifications,” Planning Commission Chair Daniel Case said.
Trenton Mayor Alex Case reminded the two commissions of the state regulations for the allowed locations of a liquor store.
The business must be 100 yards from any church, 200 yards from schools, 100 yards from alcohol treatment centers, and 500 yards from any other established business that sells distilled spirits.
An inventory minimum was revisited. It was noted that Fort Oglethorpe’s new distilled spirits sales ordinance had a minimum inventory.
Commissioner Monda Wooten wondered why some ordinances include an inventory minimum.
Business owner Jay Patel told the commissioners it was related to tax dollars. There is a tax for .22 cents per liter.
“The city will receive a check each month,” Patel said.
“I’m for having a minimum, because it would knock some other businesses out,” Wooten said.
Planning Commission member Steven Ryan reminded the commissions that they had decided to discard the inventory limit during the last meeting, because no other business has a regulated inventory.
“But there’s no other business like this either,” Daniel Case responded to Ryan.
The two commissions agreed to reinstate the $250,000 inventory minimum. Patel said that $250,000 inventory is standard.
Because it was decided that there would not be a limit on the number of stores, the commissions also decided to add into the ordinance that a business owner could only own one liquor store.
“The state allows two. It might be necessary for us to put in that you can only own one inside of the city,” Daniel Case said. “The whole reason for us not capping the number of stores is to avoid a monopoly. If we allow one person to have two stores, then we haven’t done a good job of that.”
The commissions also debated between a $4,000 and a $5,000 yearly license fee and decided for the higher price.
The amount of signage on the outside of the stores were also discussed. It was noted that the police need to be able to see inside without any obstruction, but the business owners prefer a smaller amount of glass to prevent break-ins. It was decided that any glass on the front of the building, no matter the size, cannot be covered with advertising signs.
Mayor Case said that he would make the revisions to the ordinance and send it to the attorney.
It was determined that if there were no objections by Attorney Ron Womack, then the City Commission could vote on it in during their next meeting on April 4. Case would sign the ordinance and it would go into effect the next day. A 30-day application period would then start.