City of Atlanta says lounge liquor license application ‘does not meet legal requirements’

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt April 25, 2016
A picture of Hosea Williams, left, and Franklin Morris, right, that hangs in the Morris' Restaurant and Lounge in Kirkwood. File photo by Dan Whisenhunt

A picture of Hosea Williams, left, and Franklin Morris, right, that hangs in the Morris’ Restaurant and Lounge in Kirkwood. File photo by Dan Whisenhunt

The owners of the Morris Restaurant and Lounge have suffered a setback in seeking a liquor license for their Kirkwood establishment.

The City of Atlanta has determined the application does not meet the legal requirements and cannot move forward at this time.

At this month’s Kirkwood Neighbors’ Organization meeting, the KNO membership voted to deny support for the liquor license. It was the latest development in lengthy dispute between some residents and the historically black-owned business that has been in the community since the 1960s. Originally owned by Franklin Morris, Sr., his children now run the business after their father passed. The property records list Franklin D. R. and Kenneth Morris as owners, while Porschea Morris has applied for the liquor license.

Some community members say the lounge has become a nuisance since Morris children took the business over. Representatives of the Morris family were not at the recent KNO meeting. Attempts to reach them have been unsuccessful. The phone number listed for the business has been disconnected.

The license application was set to go before the local Neighborhood Planning Unit on April 26, but was withdrawn after the city determined it did not meet the legal requirements to move forward.

“Based on my investigation, the applicant does not meet the legal requirements, to further process their application,” a city investigator said a message forwarded to Decaturish. “Therefore the original application (along with personal documents) submitted has been returned to the applicant.”

At the KNO meeting, held April 10, Nazeer Kutty, chair of the KNO zoning committee, said the committee recommend not supporting the license based on the inaccuracies and discrepancies in the application. Kutty said it was not clear in the application who was running the business, whether it would be run as a restaurant or bar and how far the business was from various public buildings in the community.

The business was shut down last year, after the city discovered the new owners did not have a valid business license in their name, but the owners have since gotten a license. The lounge has been cited for violations of the city’s noise ordinance and police have also been called out after an altercation between the two brothers that included a gun, as previously reported by Decaturish.

While representatives of the Morris family did not attend the KNO meeting, some of their supporters were there.

Rosa Poole-Holmes, a long-time Kirkwood resident, spoke in support of the business. She pointed out that many people had bought homes next to the business in the last few years and should have known that their property was adjacent to a bar.

After the meeting, Holmes said the discussion around the lounge brings back unpleasant memories of when her family and other blacks moved into the neighborhood in the 1950s and 60s.

“They didn’t want us here then, and we are reliving that now,” she said.

To read the story from the April 10 meeting, click here.

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