The county ordinance making Sunday sales legal was adopted by the Board of Commissioners by a vote of 3-0 at a called meeting Tuesday.
By approving last month’s election results, the Dahlonega City Council also gave the final approval to Sunday sales this week. Restaurants that are already licensed for liquor by the drink on weekdays will be able to pour seven days a week as well.
The BOC met in a special workshop last week after failing to adopt the resolution at its November BOC meeting Nov. 20. At that time District 3 Commissioner Clarence Stowers said he wanted to look at the entire ordinance covering the sale of alcohol. He also questioned if the county should not either raise the fee or have a separate license for Sunday sales.
At the Nov. 27 called work session District 1 Commissioner Bill Scott suggested adopting the amendment allowing the sale of beer and wine on Sunday at the next opportunity and looking at the whole ordinance at a later date.
“It’s license renewal time and we need to decide if there’s going to be an additional fee. It won’t matter until we have some enforcement issue come up. If we adopt this, and we have regulations on the hours [alcohol] can be sold on Sunday and someone calls and complains that so-and-so down the road is selling beer at 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning, whose going out to check on it? And whose going to pay for it? We’re a college town. Who knows what could happen?” he said.
“The cost of enforcement is supposedly offset by the cost of a license,” county attorney K.C. Horne told the board. “Every county has different figures. There’s no consistency in fees.”
Horne recommended a six-month-trial of the amendment allowing the sale of beer and wind on Sunday. During that time staff will look at the entire ordinance—what information is required upon application for a license, how to track owners when a store is not owned by an individual but by a corporation, what other counties are charging for Sunday sales licensing and other issues.
Now that the amendment is on the books, restaurants will be able to sell beer and wine on Sunday between the hours of 12:30 p.m. and midnight, or one hour before closing, whichever comes first. Stores will be able to conduct Sunday sales from 12:30 p.m. until 11:30 p.m.