The Cave Spring City Council is shooting for a July deadline to adopt a revised alcohol control ordinance that includes liquor sales by the package and drink.
“We’d like to have it done within 60 days,” Mayor Pro Tem Tom Lindsey said following a Tuesday night work session on a proposed draft.
City Attorney Frank Beacham is using Rome’s ordinance as a template. He’s also incorporating elements that council members like in other Georgia cities such as Ball Ground, Kennesaw, Dahlonega and Acworth. The work session focused on tailoring the changes to Cave Spring — as it exists and as they’d like to see it develop.
“Cave Spring is not like Rome,” Council member Nellie McCain said during a discussion of how close to homes, schools and parks that package stores may be located.
Some of the questions are easy. “No,” they answered unanimously when Beacham asked if they want to allow brown-bagging, the practice of patrons bringing their own alcohol to a venue.
Others will take some wrangling with the wording. Council members all said they don’t want local motels to put bars in their lobbies. But Sandra Lindsey, director of the Downtown Development Authority, got a positive response when she described “boutique motels with lounges.”
The board stalled out at the question of allowing stand-alone bars, with the majority agreeing that serving alcohol without food would not be a good fit for the tiny historic city. However, Council member Joyce Mink noted that Marietta Square has a few upscale places where people can drop in for an exotic drink.
“They’re nice places that put a lot of effort into their little drinks,” she said. “The drinks are expensive .... but it’s something you might do if you just want to relax before you go on to dinner or wherever you’re going.”
Signage sparked some debate, with the majority wanting to maintain a ban on advertising drinks and drink specials, but several expressed caution about affecting local businesses.
Sandra Lindsey noted that many people don’t know the newly renovated Creekside restaurant now sells alcohol. But Council member Charles Jackson said most places have websites with that information.
“Or they could change the name to Creekside Bar and Grill,” Council member Nancy Fricks said with a smile. “We’ll have all our restaurants named ‘bar and grill’ in a while.”
Plans are to meet at least one more time — perhaps two — to vet the draft ordinance, with Beacham making changes as required. A May 7 session is expected to focus on rules for on-premises consumption.
Council members also are discussing the possibility of visiting some of the nearby downtown districts to see how their provisions work in practice.