Council Holds Meeting on Distilled Spirits Package Store

Business, Community

DAHLONEGA, Ga.- The City Council held a public meeting on May 10 in order to give the public an opportunity to ask any questions they may have regarding the current draft of the distilled spirits ordinance.

The council had the first reading of the ordinance at the meeting on May 2. To review what was discussed in that meeting visit https://lumpkin.fetchyournews.com/2022/05/03/first-reading-of-ordinances-for-regulations-on-package-stores-approved/.

The meeting was sparsely attended by the public with only one individual showing up. In preparation for the meeting, staff came up with a list of commonly asked questions and answers that were handed out at the meeting. These are the questions and answers provided by the staff.

(1) Question: What is the application fee for Class L, retail distilled spirits
package?
Answer: The non-refundable and non-transferrable administrative
application fee will be $500.00 together with a deposit in the amount of the
license base fee.

(2) Question: What will the base fee for Class L, retail distilled spirits package
be?
Answer: The base fee for Class, L, retail distilled spirits package will be
$5,000.00 annually. This fee is non-transferable and non-refundable. If you
file an application, you will also provide in addition to the application fee a
deposit of $5,000.00 as your base license fee. If your application is not
selected for licensure that deposit will be returned.

(3) Question: Can I add retail sales of packaged malt beverages and/or retail sales
of packaged wine to my Class L, retail distilled spirits package license?
Answer: Yes, to add retail sales of packaged malt beverage license the fee
will be an additional $1,200.00 annually. Additionally, to add retail sales of
packaged wine license the fee will be an additional $1,200.00 annually. For
example: to sell distilled spirits, malt beverages, and wine the fee would be the
distilled spirits base fee ($5,000.00) + the packaged malt beverage base fee
($1,200.00) + the packaged wine base fee ($1,200.00) = $7,400.00 annually.

(4) Question: What will I need to provide on my application?
Answer: Each applicant shall provide the following: (1) a copy of a deed
showing the applicant to be the owner of the premises for which the license is
sought or a copy of a deed, contract for purchase, or lease of the premises
sought to be used by the applicant for the business, (2) criminal background
history of each person listed on the application, (3) proof of U.S. Citizenship
or alien status, (4) ten-year driver history, (5) identification of the licensee’s
representative who will is the person upon whom notices or service of papers
shall be served, and (5) the licensed representative identified shall submit to
the City an affidavit certifying that he/she is at least 21 years of age and a
manager of the business.

(5) Question: What would disqualify someone from obtaining a distilled spirits
package store license?
Answer: When contrary to the public interest and welfare, no distilled spirits
package store license shall be issued for (1) Any person who has been
convicted under any federal or state law of any felony within ten (10) years
immediately preceding the filing of an application for such license; or (2) Any
individual that is convicted under any federal, state, or local law of a misdemeanor
involving alcoholic beverages, gambling, or tax law violations, if such
conviction tends to indicate that the applicant will not maintain the operation
for which he is seeking a license in conformity with federal, state, or local
laws, rules, and regulations.

(6) Question: Can someone own more than one package store licensed in
Dahlonega?
Answer: No, no person shall be or have a beneficial interest in the holder of
more than one distilled spirits package store license within the City regardless
of the degree of the interest. Beneficial interest includes ownership interest,
whether legal, equitable, or other, in or control over the holder of the distilled
spirits package store license.

(7) Question: Can a person, group, or entity with similar members have an
interest in more than one package store?
Answer: No, no person, group, or entity with similar members, including
family members can have an interest in more than one license for the package
sale of distilled spirits issued.

(8) Question: How many licenses for the package sale of distilled spirits will be
issued?
Answer: No license for the retail sale of distilled spirits by the package shall
be issued over the number of two during the first licensing period. However,
one additional license may be issued once the population of the city exceeds
13,500. Additional licenses may be issued in the future for each 3,500 person
increasing to over 13,500.

(9) Question: What if the number of permitted licenses falls below the permitted
number?
Answer: If the number of permitted licenses falls below the permitted
number, then the city shall accept an application for and issue such additional
licenses for the retail sale of distilled spirits by the package so as to bring the
the total number of active licenses to the total number then permitted.

(10) Question: What will happen during the first licensing period?
Answer: The first licensing period will be divided into two licensing cycles.
One license will be issued pursuant to each cycle. The City Council, by
separate resolutions or ordinances, will identify the dates of the first and second
independent licensing cycles. During each cycle, if the city receives more
conforming applications than allotted licenses to be issued, then the selection
of the successful application for that cycle shall be conducted by a lottery
system overseen by an independent third-party firm. The application will then be
drawn by lottery until all applications are ranked by the number in which they
were drawn. After this process takes place, the application drawn from the
lottery system will then be presented to the City Council for action on the
approval of the license to be issued for that cycle.

(11) Question: What if the first application is drawn and approved via the lottery
the system fails or defaults?
Answer: If the first application drawn from the lottery system fails or defaults,
the applications ranked beneath the first drawn will be held in reserve and
notified in their ranking order should a default occur in the ability of the
the application is first drawn to meet the requirements of the regulations during that
cycle.

(12) Question: Will the applications in the reserve from the first cycle of the
lottery system carries over to the second cycle?
Answer: No, applications from the first licensing cycle are exclusive to that
cycle and do not in any way carry forward to the second licensing cycle.

(13) Question: When will the City begin accepting applications?
Answer: Applications for the initial issuance of licensees will not be accepted
until the effective date of Ordinance 2022-02. The effective date of the
ordinance shall coincide with the commencement date of the first cycle of the
initial licensing period identified by council resolution. The first licensing
cycle is expected to commence on or about May 18th.

(14) Question: How long will the City be accepting applications?
Answer: The City will be accepting applications for a period of sixty calendar
days.

(15) Question: Once selected, how long does the license holder have to open for
business?
Answer: Once a license holder is selected, they have eight months after the
issuance of said license to open for business. Failure to open will serve as an
automatic forfeiture and cancellation of said license unless an extension of the
time is granted by the City Manager or the Manager’s designee before the
expiration of the eight-month period for good cause shown. Also, please note
that no refund of the license fee will be given in the event of such forfeiture.

(16) Question: In what zoning districts are package stores allowed?
Answer: The package store must be located within the B-1 or B-2 zoning
district. No locations other than those two districts will be approved.

(17) Question: Are there any other limitations as to the location of a package
store?
Answer: Yes, no premises shall be licensed for the sale of distilled spirits by
the package:
(a) which is located within 1500 feet of any other business licensed
to sell distilled spirits by the package as outlined by OCGA 3-4-
47(a).
(b) which is located within 300 feet of any church building, alcoholic
treatment center as defined by OCGA 3-3-21(a)(1)(c), or a
housing authority property as defined in OCGA 3-3-2(e)(1) and
(2).
(c) which is located within 600 feet of any school building,
educational building, school grounds, or college campus.
(d) which is located within 300 feet of a detached single-family
dwelling unit located within one of the City’s residential zoning
districts;
(e) All distances shall be measured by the most direct route of travel
on the ground, from the front door to the front door.

(18) Question: Can a distilled spirits package store use lighted or portable
signage outside of the building?
Answer: No licensee for the package sale of distilled spirits shall be permitted
to utilize a lighted and/or portable sign outside the building. In addition, all
city sign regulations shall apply.

(19) Question: What are the hours of operation for Class L, retail distilled spirits
package?
Answer: It will be unlawful for Class, L, retail distilled spirits package dealer
in the City to sell distilled spirits except between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and
11:45 p.m. Monday morning through Saturday night.

(20) Question: Will Sunday sales be permitted for Class L, retail distilled spirits
package?
Answer: No, Sunday sales are not permitted at this time.

(21) Question: What can be sold at a package store other than distilled spirits?
Answer: Beer and wine (when properly licensed), beverages containing no
alcohol commonly used to dilute distilled spirits, cigars, packaged ice, ice
chests, individual can and bottle coolers, paper, Styrofoam, plastic cups, gift
bags, gift certificates for use exclusively at the licensed establishment, single-serve snack items and bar supplies.

(22) Question: Will amusement machines, electronic game machines, or gaming
devices be permitted within a Class L retail establishment?
Answer: No, amusement machines, electronic game machines, and gaming
devices will not be permitted within a Class L retail establishment.

(23) Question: How big does a Class L licensed premises need to be to meet the requirements?
Answer: A-Class L licensed premises needs to have at least 2500 square feet
of showroom space. Spaces such as offices, mechanical rooms, janitorial
rooms, breakrooms, and bathrooms do not count toward the minimum square
footage requirement.

(24) Question: What will the minimum inventory requirements for a Class L
licensed premises be?
Answer: For a Class L licensed premises the minimum inventory requirement
will be $500,000.00 in distilled spirits available for sale. Monthly reporting of
inventory is required by the licensee.

(25) Question: Will distilled spirits be offered by the package by means of drive-through?
Answer: No, packaged distilled spirits will not be offered through any means
that allows the customer to remain in their motor vehicle.

These are just the common questions that staff has predicted would be most asked by the community. If there are further questions that are not address in this form then the council members’ information can be found at https://dahlonega.gov/department/the-city-council/.

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