Commissioners pass alcohol, cafe rules - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Commissioners pass alcohol, cafe rules

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November 27, 2007

Albany--  Albany city leaders have found gaps in one of their code enforcement ordinances.  They want more detailed rules on how alcohol licenses are issued or maintained.

There are restrictions as to how close any business that sells alcohol is to a church, school or other alcohol-selling establishment. But the problem is that there wasn't a concrete understanding as to how that proximity should be measured.

Code Enforcement Director Mike Tilson found a difference between state law and the local ordinance.

"The bottom line is I'm asking for guidance on whether we draw a straight line between a door and a property line or door-to-door or do we follow a walking path," said Tilson.

Tuesday night, that walking path proximity rule was made clear for the distance between schools, churches and alcohol selling establishments. But commissioners still want a more concrete ordinance for the distance between two bars.

City leaders also defined the definition of a church as a permanent stand-alone building. where persons assemble for religious worship. They also passed a grandfather clause for current businesses. When licenses expire in December, proximity won't have to be looked at again when they renew.

Commissioners also made some other changes.  Downtown businesses that want to have outdoor seating or sidewalk cafes must now get permission from the city.

City leaders don't want outdoor tables and chairs to impact public safety or health.  Some city sidewalks are very narrow. City commissioners passed a resolution that will make businesses ask for an encroachment.

The city will survey the area and let them know how many tables and chairs they're allowed to have. Eventually as part of the Riverfront District Downtown, sidewalks will be widened.  

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