MILTON, Ga. — The Milton City Council is considering changes to the city’s alcohol ordinance they hope will spur economic growth and provide residents with more choices to enjoy a beverage.
The council supported nearly all the proposed changes at its Nov. 13 work session. The ordinance will go before the Planning Commission next month.
The process for updating the ordinance has been going on for weeks, and Economic Development Manager Sarah LaDart said there has been “zero” opposition to the changes.
If passed, the city would permit several new types of businesses to operate within the city.
One new business would be a craft beer and/or wine market. These establishments would be required to offer a minimum of 75 different selections of beer or wine with 70 percent of sales coming from beer and wine. Food sales would not be required, and the sale and consumption of liquor is prohibited.
The updates would also open the door for a specialty wine market. These businesses would differ from a craft wine market because they would be required to have at least 30 percent of sales from food. The business must be under 2,000 square feet and would be required to be closed on Sundays due to a state mandate.
Growler markets would also be allowable under the new ordinance. Food sales would not be required, and the business could apply for an additional license for on-site beer and wine consumption.
A craft beer/wine market, specialty wine market or growler market would be required to end sales at 10 p.m.
The ordinance could also allow for a limited service restaurant that could have up to 70 percent of its sales from alcohol. Under state law, the restaurant would not be permitted to have Sunday sales.
City Council members were in support of allowing the new businesses to operate in the city.
There was also support for allowing for micro-breweries and micro-distilleries, which are proposed under the drafted alcohol ordinance.
City Manager Steve Krokoff said the city has room for these businesses, including 200 re-developable acres in the Deerfield Parkway area. He said breweries would be able to open on sites previously zoned commercial.
Another update to the ordinance would allow for city food markets, courtyard markets and food halls.
A city food market, such as the Municipal Market in Atlanta, is a store that does not offer typical convenience store products, such as gasoline or lottery tickets. But it can sell food goods, and it cannot have alcohol account for more than 20 percent of its sales. A courtyard market, such as the Shops at Buckhead, is a commercial or retail center with an outdoor area that can be used for events, and alcohol can be sold and consumed within the courtyard.
The proposal to the ordinance has already spurred interest from a developer looking to open a 1,100-square foot food hall. Under the new code, a food hall has prepared meals for consumption at the site the entire time alcohol is sold.
Council members said they also favored other minor changes to the ordinance. Those updates include allowing businesses with a BYOB license to allow for consumption up to one hour before closing and allowing liquor stores to conduct beer/wine tastings.
The only proposal that received pushback was allowing farm wineries to sell beer and wine produced outside the state. Farm wineries are permitted to sell wines produced on site and those produced in Georgia.
Mayor Joe Lockwood said allowing beer and out-of-state wine sales could be akin to opening an outside bar. Lockwood and Jamison said the issue would be better suited for discussion for a special use permit.
The city was set to host a Community Zoning Information Meeting on the ordinance Nov. 19. As scheduled, the Planning Commission will review the ordinance updates at its Dec. 18 meeting, and the City Council will have its first presentation Jan. 6.