Fannin Hall

FILE — Fannin Hall serves as Cave Spring City Hall. / Alan Riquelmy

The Cave Spring City Council has called a special meeting for Tuesday, slated for 4 p.m. in City Hall, 10 Georgia Ave.

Council member Tom Lindsey said Sunday that plans are to adopt the city’s budget and new alcohol ordinance.

Cave Spring operates on a fiscal year basis, with budgets covering periods from July 1 through June 30. The city’s operating expenses are offset by a 1-cent local option sales tax so residents are not assessed a municipal property tax.

A copy of the proposed budget is available for review at City Hall.

Council members have been working on a comprehensive revision to the alcohol ordinance since voters approved liquor sales in February.

A first reading June 11 netted approval from all five members. Mayor Dennis Shoaf votes only to break a tie.

Downtown Development Authority Director Sandra Lindsey said she expects La Cabana, the city’s Mexican restaurant, to be first in line for a liquor pouring permit.

“They keep asking about it,” she said. “You can’t get a real margarita there right now. They’re all wine-based.”

The ordinance also allows for liquor package sales outside a half-mile radius from the downtown district. But the biggest changes are provisions for innovative new business models such as craft breweries and micro-distilleries.

Cave Spring Distilling Co. is hoping to open before the end of the year in a long-vacant historic building at 24 Alabama St. downtown.

Investors Caney McStotts and Garrett Rothman plan to make spirits with the city’s famed spring water that emanates from the cave across the street in Rolater Park. They’ll also have a tasting room and a small shop, and market the operation as a tourist destination.

Sandra Lindsey said it’s a little too early for them to apply for permits, which will expire if they’re not used within six months.

“There’s so much to be done to the building,” she said. “It had to be cleaned out a lot because it’s been used for storage for so long. They’re talking to contractors now, but they want to be sure the building’s going to be ready.”

Sidewalk cafes, bistros, temporary outdoor pouring permits for special events, farm wineries and lounges – but not bars – are among the ventures that will be allowed under the new ordinance.

“I can see other new little businesses coming forward as we progress,” Sandra Lindsey said.

City Attorney Frank Beacham used Rome’s ordinance as a template, but council members also added elements they liked from other Georgia cities such as Acworth, Ball Ground, Kennesaw and Dahlonega. Discussions revolved around tailoring the ordinance to fit the historic small town’s atmosphere.

Note: This report was updated to reflect Mayor Shoaf's return from a leave of absence.

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