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Guyton pours work into its alcohol law
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Guyton held a public workshop Tuesday evening to discuss Demetrios Sotiropoulos’s request to sell beer and wine by the drink at The Olive Branch Restaurant in Guyton.

Sotiropoulos had approached city council back in April; however, Guyton currently has a package sales ordinance only, so in order to approve his request, council members would have to establish a “by the drink” ordinance.

City Attorney Ramona Bartos used the workshop to get the council’s input on the components associated with most municipal laws regarding beer and wine. The discussion ran the gamut of such things as the amount to charge for an annual license and application fees, hours of operation to whether patron and lewd dancing would be allowed — and if so, with what kinds of restrictions.

“You can limit what kind of establishment can get an alcohol license,” Bartos told Guyton officials. “Restaurants can be defined as establishments that serve food as the main focus.”

Council members in attendance agreed that they did not want bars. The agreed upon fee for licensing was $1,000 with an application fee of $400 plus associated costs such as advertising.

Sotiropoulos asked council to consider the license cost of $1,000 along with the fact that he’d only be selling alcohol in the evenings and stopping at 10 p.m.

“If you can’t recoup that in a year’s time, then you should close. You shouldn’t be in business,” Alderman Phillip King replied.

Council was split down the middle with several issues: hours of operation and penalty costs and the duration of time between penalties. Alderman Les Pevey and Mayor Michael Garvin are in favor of extending weekend hours to 11 p.m., while King and Alderman Jeff Lariscy believe the hours should stay 10 p.m. all week. Alderman Brenda Lovett was not present at the meeting.

The two sides remained split when it came to penalties; however, they did reach a compromise. Lovett will be the deciding vote when the draft ordinance is presented to council at a later date.

King made it clear throughout the meeting that he was not in favor of the ordinance altogether, but “didn’t want to make it hard to get (license) when it’s legal.”

Bartos will put together a draft ordinance based on input from the workshop and will present it to council for their review.