Dacula Election Results 2012: Package Store Referendum Passes

Voters within the city limits of Dacula pass package store referendum by large margin.

UPDATED Nov. 6, 2012 at 8:30 p.m.

By an overwhelming margin, Dacula voters have indicated their support for allowing package stores within the city limits.

Earlier this year, Russ Weaver began a petition drive in hopes of securing enough signatures from Dacula voters to have a package store referendum placed on the November ballot. His efforts were successful.

As a result, city residents headed to the polls today to answer the following question:

“Shall the issuance of licenses for the package sale of distilled spirits be approved?” 

The voters said yes by a 181 to 76 margin. The totals, according to Mayor Jimmy Wilbanks, will remain unofficial until the results of the election are certified.

“The electorate has spoken,” Wilbanks said. “I guess we’ll go from there.”

Now that the measure has passed, Russ Weaver, owner of Bottle Shop & Liquor in Madison, Ga., plans to apply for a license to open a liquor store in Dacula.

“This is going to do Dacula a lot of good. It really is,” Weaver said. “That’s going to be a lot of money for them. I’m proud for them. And, if things go my way, I’m going to open one of the best stores in Georgia. It’s going to be really nice.”

Weaver, who plans to relocate to Dacula should he be chosen as the licensee, was emotional upon learning the election results.

“We’ve put so much into it,” he said. “We hand chose Dacula, Georgia to do this. We could have gone anywhere in the state. We picked Dacula for a lot of reasons -- number one was demographics but we like the area too.”

The whole process has made Weaver even more convinced that Dacula is the right place to be.

“As we met people knocking on doors, it confirmed to me that it’s a nice place to call home and a place I’d like to live with my family,” he explained.

Weaver is hopeful he will have the opportunity to show area residents that a package store can be “first class.”

“I’m just excited,” he said.

According to Weaver, conservative estimates place annual sales tax revenue from a store such as the one he is proposing at $600,000 -- an amount roughly equal to what the City of Dacula currently collects in property tax revenues.

Mayor Wilbanks indicated it would likely be 2014 before the city would be able to determine exactly what impact the store may have on city revenues. In the meantime, the city will begin a process that includes revising the city’s alcohol ordinance, vetting applications, approving licensees and submitting required paperwork to the state. The petitioner will then have to go through the development permit/building permit process, apply for an occupational tax certificate and pass subsequent inspections required for the issuance of an occupational tax certificate. Wilbanks said he expects the process could begin as early as February 2013. 

The passage of the package store referendum was not unexpected based on previous election results. During the 2011 special election, city of Dacula voters approved a measure to allow Sunday sales of alcohol in grocery and convenience stores by a 201 to 111 margin. Voters also passed Sunday sales of liquor by the drink by an overwhelming margin -- 198 to 115. 

Are you pleased with the results of the election? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments.

john christopher boratyn November 06, 2012 at 01:16 PM
I believe in freedom and free enterprise if the people of dacula vote to allow it then local goverment should asist in it's citizens wishes
nicole November 07, 2012 at 03:18 AM
Please hurry up and put this liquor store up!!!! Im so sick of not having one in Dacula, my gosh
Michele November 11, 2012 at 08:49 PM
What side of Dacula? I hope the 316 side not the Hamilton mill side.
Mr. B November 11, 2012 at 09:38 PM
Hamilton Mill isn't in Dacula, is it? Last time I was over that way, it seemed like Hamilton Mill was five or six miles from Dacula.
Michele November 11, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Yes parts of it is.. Hamilton Mill Homes are. Not in city limits though
Mr. B November 11, 2012 at 10:22 PM
I guess I still don't understand. How can HM be in Dacula but not in Dacula city limits? And while you're explaining this, what's wrong with the HM side of Dacula? I don't live in Dacula, just wondering about your response.
Kristi Reed (Editor) November 11, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Hamilton Mill, Apalachee Farms, the Harbins area, the Hog Mountain area, etc. have Dacula mailing addresses, but are not within the actual city limits of Dacula -- they are in unincorporated Dacula. The City of Dacula itself is a very small area compared to the area that has a Dacula mailing address.
Mr. B November 11, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Ah, they share a post office. Sorta like my address being Buford (closest post office) although I live on Lake Lanier. But wouldn't that be unincorporated Gwinnett County instead of unincorporated Dacula? (My dog trainer lives in Dacula and I cut through HM to get there.) I still wonder what Michele has against the area. I thought it looked nice.
Kristi Reed (Editor) November 11, 2012 at 10:39 PM
Mr. B - Yes, we are unincorporated Gwinnett County. I always think of it as Dacula because we have a Dacula mailing address, but it is unincorporated Gwinnett.
Michele November 12, 2012 at 04:25 AM
Mr. B..... I have nothing against HM side at all. Dentist, Ortho, etc. on that side. But I live on 316 side. A quick last min. Ran to liq.. Store would be Nice!!!! That's all.. Thanks for asking!!
Michele November 12, 2012 at 04:26 AM
Hamilton Mill is very nice!!!! Lots if friends on that side...
Michele November 12, 2012 at 04:29 AM
Kristi said it all!!!! She is 100% correct.
Michele November 12, 2012 at 04:34 AM
One more question. Where in city limits? I thought liquor stores had to have distance from schools and church's. there are 3 schools and lots of church's in City limits. Am I wrong???
Kristi Reed (Editor) November 12, 2012 at 11:01 AM
Hi Michele - The location has yet to be determined and they have to revise the city's alcohol ordinance first too. According to the state department of revenue website, the law requires that no liquor be sold within 600 feet of school grounds (the length of two football fields) or 300 feet of a church. That will narrow the locations down a bit for sure.
Michele November 12, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Does that include Beer and Wine? Because if it does, than over by the Kroger or Publix, I guess would be fine.?
Mr. B November 12, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Sorry Michele. I just mis-read your initial comment. Thought you had a problem with the other side, not that you wanted the business closer to you. There is a package store on Spout Springs at Duncan Corners which seems about equidistant to Hamilton Mill.
Kristi Reed (Editor) November 12, 2012 at 01:37 PM
If I remember correctly, the distance from which you can sell malt beverages is shorter - 300 feet from school grounds I think.
Michele November 12, 2012 at 07:31 PM
I thought so Kristi. Mr. B I know where that one is too. It's nice, but to far for me. I have to go into Winder. We sound like drunks who need a fix... Lol
Mr. B November 12, 2012 at 08:21 PM
I thought I saw your name carved in one of the local barstools...lol.


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