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City of Cave Spring

As Cave Spring voters are casting early ballots on the sale of distilled spirits, City Council members are reviewing alcohol ordinances from across the state.

If the measure passes in the March 19 election, the board plans to meet the next week to discuss the details they want to include when they enact it.

“I hope you’re open-minded and look to the future, and not just think about what we have today,” said Sandra Lindsey, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority. “We want to be like Cedartown: ready to hit the ground running.”

The city of Cedartown has provisions governing brew pubs and micro-breweries even though nobody’s sought to open one yet in the Polk County jurisdiction. Lindsey also mentioned wine bars, wine tastings and possibly outdoor seating areas where alcohol could be consumed.

Two investors are purchasing an historic building downtown to rehabilitate and turn into a micro-distillery supplied by Cave Spring’s famed natural water. They want to offer tours, a tasting room and a storefront where they can sell direct to the public.

Cave Spring already allows beer and wine sales. Voters are weighing in on four other questions: distilled spirits package sales, distilled spirits by the drink, and extending those sales to include Sundays from 12:30 p.m. in the afternoon to 11:30 p.m. at night.

Early voting runs through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at City Hall. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day.

The board got packets last week containing alcohol ordinances enacted by cities such as Kennesaw, Dalton and Dahlonega. Councilman Tom Lindsey said they can pick and choose provisions that suit the town.

“This is the only thing we see in the future for the city to be making money,” he said.

Food-to-drink sales ratios, permit fees and special-events licensing are among the potential additions to the existing ordinance. An old provision that prohibits music where alcohol is served is already on the list to be eliminated.

“It’s important, as you look at these ordinances, to make notes about what you don’t want, too,” City Clerk Judy Dickinson warned.

Limits are likely on the number of package stores, the location of alcohol venues and the type of signage allowed. City Attorney Frank Beacham noted that Cave Spring doesn’t have zoning but maps could be part of the ordinance containing restrictions.

Several council members said they want to encourage “tasteful” ventures that fit well with the city.

“We have to be careful. Cave Spring is not very big,” Councilwoman Joyce Mink said. “But people come through here. We get a lot of traffic.”