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City Amends Alcohol Ordinance, Liquor Store Licensee to Be Chosen in January

Application process begins Jan. 7, 2013.

With changes to the city's alcohol ordinance finalized, the selection process for Dacula's first liquor store licensee will begin in just a few weeks.

On Thursday, Dec. 6, the Dacula City Council approved changes to the alcohol ordinance that specify where the liquor store can be built and the conditions which must be met before a store can be licensed. 

Next month, the city will advertise for applications from prospective licensees. Beginning Jan. 7, 2013, parties interested in opening a liquor store in Dacula will be asked to submit documents including a business plan, financial background, prior experience, proposed location and details regarding how their proposed store would operate. The deadline for submissions has been set for Jan. 22.

On Wednesday, Jan. 30, the council will meet at 5 p.m. to hear presentations from prospective licensees. The following day, on Jan. 31, the council will hold a called meeting to select which individual will be allowed to move forward with the application process.

In order to open a store, the prospective licensee must pay an application fee of $6,000, pass a background check, own or hold a contract to lease or purchase the property on which the liquor store will be built and have a detailed site and building plan. The store must be a standalone store -- not part of a shopping center -- with no drive through or curb service and must be on property zoned C-2 or C-3. Before opening the store, the licensee will also be required to obtain a special use permit for the property.

Also during Thursday night's meeting, the Dacula City Council approved several changes to the city's zoning ordinance. By a unanimous vote, the council ended a prohibition against billboards -- a prohibition that Mayor Jimmy Wilbanks explained had been made in error.

"It is illegal to prohibit billboards," Wilbanks said. "Our zoning resolution says you can't have them. Well, that's a lawsuit waiting to happen."

The council also modified the zoning ordinance to regulate the size and placement of billboards. The regulations limit billboards to certain areas of Highway 29 and Highway 316 and include restrictions on size, type and proximity to residential properties.

Under the new restrictions, billboards may be no larger than 400 square feet or 30 feet high. The billboards must be single pole, painted to blend in with the surroundings and may not be located within 1,500 feet of another billboard. Any billboard must be surrounded by a fall zone with a radius equal to 133 percent of the height of the billboard. Flashing, blinking and neon lights are prohibited as are three dimensional billboards.

In other business, the Dacula City Council:

  • Approved the amended 2012 budget.
  • Approved the proposed 2013 fiscal year budget. For 2013, the City of Dacula has a proposed budget of $2.2 million.
  • Authorized the city to award the contract for the purchase and installation of a new LED sign for Dacula City Hall to Southeastern Signs. The sign, at a cost of $11,660, will be funded through 2012 SPLOST funds.
  • Certified the results of the 2012 special election.
  • Approved a change to the city's zoning ordinance which limits package stores to areas zoned as C-2 or C-3. The ordinance also specifies applicants must obtain a special use permit for a package store.

The Dacula City Council meets next on Thursday, Dec. 20 at 7 p.m, for its monthly work session. The council meets at 442 Harbins Road, Dacula. 

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