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Decatur City commission makes open container ordinance permanent

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Decatur City commission makes open container ordinance permanent

The Decatur City Commission met on Dec. 20, with a couple commissioners attending virtually, to amend the open container ordinance, approve an alcohol beverage license and approve the annual repaving project. Photo by Zoe Seiler.

Decatur, GA — The Decatur City Commission, at its Dec. 20 meeting, amended the city’s off-premise alcoholic beverage ordinance permanent. The ordinance, often called the open container ordinance, permits off-premise consumption of alcoholic beverages in specified restaurant districts.

The ordinance was first adopted in October 2020 and has been extended multiple times. The current ordinance expires on Jan. 3, 2022, at which point the ordinance amendments will take effect.

“This ordinance was in response to the ongoing adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on local restaurant operations,” Downtown Program Manager Shirley Baylis said.

The ordinance previously included five business districts:

– Downtown Business District

– West Ponce Business District

– Old Depot Business District

– East College Business District, and

– Oakhurst Business District.

Within the amendment, the City Commission established the West College Restaurant District, with specific locations at The Imperial, Avellino’s Pizza, and Wahoo Grill.

The ordinance was in effect during set hours Friday through Sunday. The amendment changed the effective dates and times to Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to midnight each day.

Participating businesses will be required to use 7-ounce and 12-ounce plastic cups with a city of Decatur logo in order for customers to be able to carry their drinks throughout the districts. Cups will be ordered through the city.

“The proposed ordinance allows for businesses to opt in or opt out of participation in the program,” Baylis said. “If a business chooses to opt in, an annual fee of $250 will be assessed at the time of issuance of a new or annual renewal of an alcoholic beverage license to cover the costs of the cup, enforcement and staff.”

Some commissioners said they have not received any negative feedback from residents or businesses regarding the open container ordinance. Commissioner Kelly Walsh said she has received positive requests to maintain the ordinance in a sustainable way for businesses.

— In other business, the City Commission approved an alcoholic beverage license for a new restaurant for the retail sale for consumption on premises of beer, wine and spirituous liquors.

Boho 115 will be opening in downtown Decatur at 115 Sycamore Street, which was previously Square Pub. Boho 115 will be a full-service restaurant featuring global seafood dishes, Planning & Economic Development Director Angela Threadgill wrote in a memo.

— The City Commission additionally approved the 2022 local street resurfacing project. The project is partially funded by the Georgia Department of Transportation’s Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant program. Decatur will receive about $209,000 through the grant program in 2022.

The cost estimate is about $2.2 million for milling, patching, repairing and resurfacing certain streets. The city’s share is expected to be about $2 million, which exceeds the required local match of 30%. The city will repair about 1.35 miles of road, Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon said.

The streets included in the approved 2022 LMIG program are:

– East Ponce de Leon Ave from Sycamore Drive to the city limits,

– Arcadia Avenue from the Sams Crossing Bridge to the city limits, which is 300 feet,

– South McDonough Street from College Avenue to Garland Avenue, and

– Third Avenue along East Lake Drive from the entrance of Oakhurst Park to Oakhurst Baptist Church.

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