Brookhaven, GA, May 11, 2017 – by Trey Benton – The City of Brookhaven is considering changes to its Alcohol Ordinance, changes the City says are needed “to address conflicts between licensing, enforcement, revenue administration, and emerging dispensing practices that need to be addressed (i.e., complimentary drinks at salons)”. These changes also include tweaking the hours which alcohol can be served.
According to a brief prepared by Assistant City Manager Steve Chapman, “The impetus of the review came when the Finance Department started the process of requiring CPA generated audits of food sales last fall.” The current ordinance still requires the audits, but not by a CPA.
Chapman says Brookhaven’s Finance Department has received push back from restaurants and the restaurant association as to the “onerous nature of the required audit, as well as other concerns being brought to the Administration’s attention.” He says dealing with those concerns set the stage to review the entire ordinance.
The major proposed changes to the ordinance include:
- Additional Classes of Licenses/Permits with specific definitions of each
- Change in hours to be consistent with surround communities
- Stronger definition of dispensing requirements and conditions for operation
Should City Councilmembers adopt the proposed changes to the ordinance, alcoholic beverages will allowed to be sold and delivered to the customer for consumption on their premises during the following hours:
- Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until 2:30 a.m. of the following day.
- On Sunday from 12:30 p.m. until 11:59 p.m.
- Sales and deliveries during all other hours are prohibited. There shall be no consumption on the premises after prohibited hours have been in effect for thirty (30) minutes. All licensed establishments must close their premises to the public and clear their premises of patrons by 3:00 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday and 12:30 a.m. Monday and shall not reopen to the public until 9:00 a.m. or thereafter.
- Establishments that qualify for Sunday sales. Excluding entertainment venues and specialty shops, holders of a Class C License qualify for Sunday sales of alcoholic beverages.
Currently, alcohol can be served Monday through Sunday until 2:55 a.m. By 3:30 a.m. all patrons must be out and the businesses must close.
In comparison, Brookhaven’s neighboring City of Chamblee allows alcohol to be sold for consumption on the premises between the hours of 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 a.m. the following day Monday through Friday. Saturday hours are from 9:00 a.m. until 2:55 a.m. on Sunday, and Sunday hours are from 12:30 p.m. until 3:00 a.m. on Monday. All licensed establishments, not regularly open 24 hours as a restaurant, must close their premises to the public and clear their premises of patrons by 3:30 am.
One of the major points local jurisdictions have wrestled with is which municipality is open the latest and persons who wish to continue to consume alcohol, leave the establishment that closes the earliest and travel to other locations who have the later hours. The concern is in that situation is increasing the chances of persons driving under the influence, as well as public safety concerns.
The City of Brookhaven has taken up revisions to its alcohol ordinance a number of times, tweaking hours of operation, licensing fees and regulating who, when and where alcohol can be served – as well as penalties nor violating the ordinance. The last time the pouring hours were tweaked was in 2014, after the Council contemplated those changes for over a year. They performed a survey and held two public hearings, before adopting the current pouring and closing times.
“The Finance, Police Department and City Attorney have worked seamlessly to improve the alcohol ordinance from a licensing, permitting and enforcement perspective,” Chapman explains. “This effort has taken several months and many hours to complete to ensure that the City as well as its stakeholder businesses in the community are protected and treated equitably.”
The City Council is expected to deliberate the proposed Alcohol Ordinance changes during their next Work Session Meeting that is scheduled for May 23. No changes will be implemented until such time City Council approves them and sets a “go-live” date.
See the proposed changes to the lenghty ordinance in the “redlined” version embedded below.