Brown bagging ordinance to be continued - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Brown bagging ordinance to be continued

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February 3, 2004

Albany - Business owners are calling it ridiculous. Recently, Albany City Commissioners passed a new ordinance making brown bagging illegal in the city. On Tuesday, those business owners took a stand and commissioners hashed it out.

At Polite Southside Package store in Albany you can buy a pint of liquor in a white bag with a cup of ice to go.

You used to be able to head next door to Ness's Lounge to drink your mixed drink, but recently commissioners made brown bagging illegal. Both businesses are owned by Mary Polite. She says, "They have to buy the liquor and take it home. They cannot drink it next door, sit down with friends and have fun."

The new Albany brown bagging ordinance states, "Brown bagging shall mean the bringing, taking or carrying of any alcoholic beverage into any business licensed to operate within the city."

In other words, you can't bring your own. Polite adds, "I think they [city commissioners] need to review the whole order over, because they are putting too many people out of business."

That was attempted inTuesday's meeting, but it got heated. Mayor Pro Tem Henry Mathis accused Commissioner David Williams of siding with businesses for votes. Mathis tells Williams, "That's a good campaign speech." Williams speaks out, "No, No, No, this is not campaigning, I resent you to say that."

Business owners say they are losing money. Tim Shelton, III owns Club 229. He makes money on cover charges because he doesn't have a liquor license. Shelton says, "It's pretty much put me out of business. People if they can't come out and have a drink, they are not going to come out, they would rather stay home."

Polite has tried to work around the ordinance. She has an outdoor patio where she thinks its legal for her customers pour a drink, but the city attorney says that's still illegal.

City Commissioners will review the brown bagging ordinance at a Public Safety Committee Meeting on election day, Tuesday morning at 8:30.

posted by kathryn.simmons@walb.com