Columbus Council Changes Alcohol Ordinance

By Lindsey Connell - bio | e-mail

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  Columbus Council has voted to add a new category to the city's alcohol ordinance- the traditional restaurant.

Restaurants that fall into that category can now sell alcoholic beverages within 300 feet of schools, churches, and parks.

"It will bring true restaurants that are interested in serving more food than alcohol because the ratio of food to alcohol has to be so great- eighty percent of the sales must be food and only twenty percent can be alcohol," said Lynnette Gross, President of Columbus South, Inc.

Those opposed were concerned about having more drinking going on close to certain parts of the city.

"It was a wise approach. The best approach I've seen with us taking toward alcohol sales but we continue to have problems as it affects public safety and that was my concern in that area," said Columbus Councilor Gary Allen.

But advocates say the high food to alcohol ratio in the new amendment puts more restrictions on restaurants that are close to parks, schools, and churches that will keep them from becoming like a nightclub.

"We are looking for restaurants in those areas that are minimal alcohol sales because we don't want true alcohol sales next to a playground, church or something of that sort," added Gross.

For business owners like Al Eannenmann, whose restaurant Al's Schnitzel is within 300 feet of a playground, this change is a welcome one.

"People are coming in and want a beer and I can't serve them so they're walking out the door. I think it will increase my business at least eighty, ninety percent, maybe more," he said.

Officials with Columbus South can't comment yet on which businesses may be coming to the South side now that the change has been implemented.

But they tell me multiple restaurants have expressed interest in coming to the area.

Any business- new or existing- that is located within the three hundred foot limit of a park, church or school can now apply for their liquor license.