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County gives its final OK to alcohol ballot measure

POSTED: October 20, 2011 9:30 p.m.

Voters in Effingham County will choose who they want their political party to stand as a presidential candidate — and if they want Sunday sales of alcohol.

Commissioners approved the second readings of two separate ordinances allowing individual referendums on Sunday package sales of beer and wine and sales of liquor by the drink.

"This places it on the ballot," County Administrator David Crawley said. "We drafted it in an amendment-ordinance form so that if it’s passed by the voters, it is automatically enacted."

Crawley said that would apply to both measures, the package sales of beer and wine on Sundays and to the sales of liquor by the drink on Sundays. If the referendum is approved, the measures will be effective the date the referendum is passed. The referendum will be placed on the 2012 presidential preference primary ballot, scheduled for March 6, 2012.

The current ordinance allows for package sales of beer and wine from Monday through Saturday between 9 a.m.-11:30 p.m. The county currently allows for sales of liquor by the drink from Monday through Saturday. If the referendum is approved, Sunday sales of

liquor, beer and wine by the drink can take place from 12:30 p.m.-midnight, provided the establishments doing so have at least 50 percent of their annual gross sales from food. The measure also would extend to establishments that have at least 50 percent of annual gross income from rental of rooms for overnight lodging.

Commissioners also approved a right-of-way agreement with the state Department of Transportation for Highway 21 and Old Augusta Road, beginning at Chimney Road and ending at County Road 307. The agreement also includes installation of a traffic signal at Highway 21 and Old Augusta Road.

The agreement takes in Old Augusta Road phases 2A and 2B, public works engineer Toss Allen said, going from Highway 21 to Chimney Road to Rincon-Stillwell Road.

"We went through the process of condemnation and acquisition and right-of-way and demolition of any structures contained therein," Allen said. "All of that has been done."

Since funding is coming from the state DOT’s local maintenance and improvement grants, a right-of-way agreement is warranted.

The county also entered into an agreement for right-of-way and utility certification for three high-risk roads — McCall, Little McCall and Blue Jay roads.

"It consists of signage for all of them," Allen said.

The county will resurface Blue Jay Road and will re-stripe McCall and Little McCall roads. The DOT right-of-way agreement will replace the signs on the roads, with the addition of chevrons to some of the sharper curves, according to Allen. The money for the signage will come from the Federal Highway Administration.

"It doesn’t cost us anything," Allen said.

The work is estimated to cost $57,000 and the county will let the bids, though the bid documents will be prepared by the DOT.

Allen also cautioned that the right-of-way is separate from the roundabout being discussed for the intersection of Blue Jay and McCall roads.

He also said he did not anticipate having to relocate any utilities as part of placing new signs along those roads.

Commissioners tabled until their Nov. 15 meeting an agreement with the DOT for mowing and maintenance of Highway 21 from the Effingham-Chatham line to the Rincon city limits, a distance of 3.1 miles. The DOT mows that strip about twice a year, Allen said.

Should the commissioners adopt the agreement, the county likely would mow the stretch about four times a year, Crawley said. The county has mowed it once at a cost of approximately $400-$500.

But commissioners also asked if they started mowing, would the state expect or stipulate the county to continue to do so.

"We have several other state roads into the county that have not been mowed," Commissioner Bob Brantley said.

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