Albany -- A family-friendly restaurant, that also sells beer, is planning to open its doors in about two and a half months in Albany. But there has been some controversy about whether the restaurant is too close to Darton College, and what steps the restaurant should take to be able to open up.
Roger Marietta is new on the Albany City Commission, but not new to Darton College, where he's taught political science for years. "I just want to follow the exact language that's in our ordinance that says it can't be within 300 feet of the grounds of the college," he says.
He's worried that Beef O'Brady's, a restaurant that plans to sell beer, may be too close to the college, even though it's been measured by code enforcement officers.
But owner Bill Farnsworth says he was told the restaurant is in the clear. "By the measurements we got, it's just over 600 feet, but I don't see a problem with that."
Marietta says just looking at the two properties, it's obvious they are within 300 feet of one another, but he realizes the way the ordinance reads, it allows for measurement by the nearest public route of travel. So he just wants some sort of barrier between the two properties.
"I have no problem with that a bit," said Farnsworth. Actually he's required to install some sort of barrier, and will do that before opening, and Farnsworth understands the need for commissioners to carefully scrutinize who they give licenses to. "He's just going by the law," he said. "That's what he's there for. He's there to take care of the community. He's doing what he's supposed to be doing."
"If we don't follow it in this case," said Marietta, "then the next guy is going to say, well, you didn't follow it in Beef O'Brady's, I'm going to do the same thing and I think that's where we're going to fall into problems."
But Marietta says he doesn't have any problem with Beef O'Brady's opening up and operating, just so long as all rules are followed to the letter.
Beef O'Brady's owner Bill Farnsworth says on average, his Lee County restaurant only brings in about six percent of sales from beer.