LOADING

Type to search

Decatur City Commission will consider approving temporary open container ordinance

Business Decatur Metro ATL

Decatur City Commission will consider approving temporary open container ordinance

A flight of beers at Twain's in Decatur. Photo provided by Jill Nolin
Share

 

This story has been updated.

Decatur, GA — During its busy Oct. 19 agenda, the Decatur City Commission will consider allowing restaurants to sell alcohol in a container for off-premises consumption.

The measure is intended to help restaurants struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Oct. 19 City Commission meeting will begin with a special called meeting at 4:45 p.m. to designate East Lake Drive as an Urban Redevelopment Area, which could include the Boys and Girls Club property at 450 East Lake Drive and Oakhurst Park. The designation will allow the city to purchase the Samuel L. Jones Boys and Girls Club using funding provided by the city’s Urban Redevelopment Agency.

Here’s how to view and participate in that meeting:

1. View the live broadcast of the Decatur City Commission meeting at https://www.decaturga.com/citycommission/page/streaming-video.

2. Register in advance to participate during either the “Public Comment” or “Requests and Petitions” portions of the meeting at https://zoom.us/j/97984828090. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. You may also participate by phone by calling (929) 205-6099 and entering the meeting ID (The 11-digit number shown in the Zoom registration link.)

If you are unable to participate in the virtual meeting, you may email your “public comments” on agenda items or submit “requests and petitions” by 3:00 p.m. on Monday, October 19th to: Andrea Arnold, City Manager, andrea.arnold@decaturga.com

That special called City Commission meeting will be followed by a special called meeting of the city’s Urban Redevelopment Agency at 5:30 p.m. The URA, which is made up of City Commission members, will vote on issuing a $5.5 million bond, money the city is borrowing to buy the Boys & Girls Club. The money will cover the purchase and repairs to the facility, City Manager Andrea Arnold said.

Here are the instructions for viewing and participating in that meeting:

1. View the live broadcast of the Decatur City Commission meeting at https://www.decaturga.com/citycommission/page/streaming-video.

2. Register in advance to view the meeting at https://zoom.us/j/98427634614. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. You may also participate by phone by calling (929) 205-6099 and entering the meeting ID (The 11-digit number shown in the Zoom registration link.)

After that meeting, the City Commission will hold a work session at 6:15 p.m. to discuss updates to the city’s strategic plan. Here are the instructions for viewing that meeting.

1. View the live broadcast of the Decatur City Commission work session at https://www.decaturga.com/citycommission/page/streaming-video.

2. Register in advance to view the meeting at https://zoom.us/j/92819788019. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. You may also participate by phone by calling (929) 205-6099 and entering the meeting ID (The 11-digit number shown in the Zoom registration link.)

The City Commission meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. Here are the instructions for viewing and participating in that meeting:

1. View the live broadcast of the Decatur City Commission meeting at     https://www.decaturga.com/citycommission/page/streaming-video.

2. Register in advance to participate during either the “Public Comment” or “Requests and Petitions” portions of the meeting at https://zoom.us/j/94222348081. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. You may also participate by phone by calling (929) 205-6099 and entering the meeting ID (The 11-digit number shown in the Zoom registration link.)

If you are unable to participate in the virtual meeting, you may email your “public comments” on agenda items or submit “requests and petitions” by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, October 19th to: Andrea Arnold, City Manager, andrea.arnold@decaturga.com

The temporary open container ordinance would allow restaurants to sell alcohol for off-premises consumption under certain restrictions. Here’s how the program will work, according to Downtown Programs Manager Shirley Baylis:

The ordinance would allow participating restaurants to sell alcohol for off-premise consumption Friday, between 4 p.m. and 1 a.m. the following day, and Saturday, between 3 p.m. and 1 a.m. the following day. Restaurant servers would be responsible for pouring alcohol into an approved cup and issuing the patron an approved wristband to be worn by the patron. Approved cups and wristbands are available through the Community and Economic Development Dept. of the City of Decatur. The temporary ordinance would be effective Friday, October 30, 2020 at 4 p.m. and expire Sunday, January 3, 2021 at 1 a.m.

The ordinance would apply to the following business districts:

 

– Decatur Downtown Business District

– Old Depot District

– West Ponce Business District

– East College Business District

– The Oakhurst Business District

It’s not the only item on the Oct. 19 agenda designed to help struggling businesses.

The city also plans to turn its small business loan program into a small business grant program.

The first item related to this is an amendment to a previous memorandum of understanding between the city of Decatur, the Downtown Development Authority, the Development Authority, and the Decatur Legacy Project that established the emergency small business loan program. This amendment would repay those loans using $500,000 in money from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

There’s also a separate MOU that would use $400,000 in additional CARES money to establish a new emergency small business grant program.

Here’s more information from Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon explaining how the repayment and the new grant program will work:

The City has received $2,914,000 in federal CARES Act funding for needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. At its September 21, 2020 meeting, the City Commission approved broad categories for expenditure of the CARES Act funding, including funding for community-related relief, consisting of assistance to local small businesses and non-profit organizations.

 Last April, the City Commissioners appropriated $400,000 for a COVID-19 emergency small business loan program.  The Development Authority appropriated $100,000.  The Decatur Legacy Project, a local 501c3 corporation, developed “Decatur United,” a fund-raising effort that raised $63,400, for a total relief amount of $563,400. The Development Authority appointed an Oversight Committee to manage and administer the program. In all, 45 businesses applied for loans and, using a blind lottery process, 28 loans averaging just over $20,000 per loan were approved.

Based on community needs related to the pandemic and the authority provided by the CARES Act, we recommend that $500,000 of the existing small business loans be repaid using CARES funding, effectively converting the loans to grants, and that an additional $400,000 in CARES funding be approved for a new small business grant program, for a total of $900,000 devoted to small business relief.

The new grant program will use an application process similar to the original loan program.  Criteria for eligibility will be similar, except that the proposed grant program allows applications from sole proprietors and increases the maximum number of full-time equivalent employees (FTE) from 30 to 50. Applicants can request $5,000 per FTE, up to a maximum of $25,000. A blind lottery process to select grantees will again be used if applications for assistance are oversubscribed.

The small business grant program must be implemented quickly, both to provide urgently needed assistance to local businesses and to meet the CARES Act deadlines as well as deadlines imposed by DeKalb County through an intergovernmental agreement.

We recommend approval of the amendment to the memorandum of understanding for the small business loan repayment program and approval of the memorandum of understanding for the small business grant program in a form substantially similar to that presented.

 A separate program for $300,000 in grants to local non-profit organizations is expected to be recommended to the City Commissioners at their regular meeting on November 2.

In other business on the Oct. 19 City Commission agenda:

– The City Commission will consider extending its face-covering ordinance through Nov. 16

– The City Commission will consider the Planning Commission’s recommendation to grant two exceptions to the requirements in the Unified Development Ordinance to allow the owner of the Java Monkey building to rebuild on that site. A fire destroyed the Java Monkey two years ago and the property has been dormant since that time.

The first exception would eliminate the requirement for the business to have at least two off-street parking spaces. The second exception would allow them to rebuild on the same footprint as the old building without allowing more of a buffer next to the sidewalk.

Although Java Monkey never had off-street parking, the building had been grandfathered in as a nonconforming use when the current UDO requirements were written. Since the old building will be completely demolished and a new one constructed, it is considered new construction and the new standards apply.

For more information about that project, click here.

Writer Cathi Harris contributed to this story. 

Decaturish.com is working to keep your community informed about coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. All of our coverage on this topic can be found at Decaturishscrubs.com. If you appreciate our work on this story, please become a paying supporter. For as little as $3 a month, you can help us keep you in the loop about what your community is doing to stop the spread of COVID-19. To become a supporter, click here

Want Decaturish delivered to your inbox every day? Sign up for our free newsletter by clicking here

 

Decaturish needs your support!

Help us provide you with free, quality local news. Become a Decaturish.com supporter today

To chip in $3 a month, click here.

To chip in $6 a month, click here.

To chip in $60 a year, click here.
* Decaturish.com is not a 501-c-3 organization. Support of Decaturish goes toward our newsgathering efforts. Decaturish does not have a print edition.
close-link