Early next year, Dacula city officials will decide who will be allowed to open a liquor store in Dacula.
In the November special election, city voters overwhelmingly decided in favor of allowing package stores within the city limits. Now city officials have begun a process that will include revising the city’s alcohol ordinance, vetting applications, approving licensees and submitting required paperwork to the state.
“This is a change for Dacula,” said Mayor Jimmy Wilbanks. “This is not an initiative of the city council. This is because we had a successful petition drive and we’re required by state law to follow through and do all the things we’re doing tonight about this liquor store.”
Only one store will be allowed to open within the city. That limit -- decided upon by city staff -- is based upon population. One liquor store will be licensed for every 5,000 people within the city limits. Dacula’s population is currently just under 5,000 according to City Administrator Jim Osborn.
“We thought 5,000 was a good number so we wouldn’t be overrun by liquor stores,” Osborn said.
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 will be Jan. 22.
On Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, the Dacula City Council will hold a called meeting in which prospective licensees can present their qualifications and plans. The prospective licensees will be scored based on criteria set by city officials. The following day, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013, the council will hold another 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, 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.
No sales of distilled spirits will be allowed on Sundays. Though Dacula voters passed referendums allowing for Sunday sales of beer and wine and Sunday sales of liquor by the drink, no referendum has been held to allow Sunday sales of distilled spirits.
In other business during the Nov. 29 work session, council:
- Discussed proposed revisions to the city’s zoning ordinance regarding billboards. The proposed regulations would limit billboards to certain areas of Highway 29 and Highway 316 and would include restrictions on size, type and proximity to residential properties.
- Reviewed a proposal for a new LED sign for Dacula City Hall. In October, the Dacula City Council authorized staff to seek bids for the sign. The low bid, at $11,660, was submitted by Southeastern Signs.
Prior to the work session, the council held a public hearing on the 2013 proposed budget. Three people attended. The budget documents are available for review on the City of Dacula website. For 2013, the City of Dacula has a proposed budget of $2.2 million.
The council will vote on the budget at its monthly business meeting next Thursday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m. The council meets at Dacula City Hall, located at 442 Harbins Road in Dacula.
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