MILTON, Ga. — Milton residents showed no resistance on proposed changes to the city’s alcohol ordinance that would allow for additional alcohol-based businesses including craft beer and wine markets and micro-breweries.
Two public hearings were held Oct. 1 at Community Place adjacent to City Hall where city officials outlined the proposed updates to residents and allowed them to give feedback.
Milton is considering adding a micro-brewery/micro-distillery license and allowing for craft beer and wine markets, which sell packaged alcohol and allow on-site consumption. The city could also relax the conditions of a regulation that requires a business with on-site alcohol consumption to have a 50/50 balance of food to alcohol sales. Milton officials are considering changing that ration to 70 percent alcohol sales with 30 percent food.
Economic Development Manager Sarah LaDart said some businesses have expressed interest in operating in the city, but the restrictions on the alcohol ordinance have turned those firms away.
While new licenses highlight the possible updates, there is far more work to be done on the ordinance.
LaDart said the regulations must be compliant with the city’s zoning regulations, and the city must also consider its other ordinances while drafting the updates. For instance, Milton officials recently discussed the possibility of allowing golf carts on roadways in some areas of the city. LaDart said in order to ensure safety and that no golf cart drivers are intoxicated, Milton must balance the two sets of regulations.
Fewer than 10 residents attended the two public hearings last week, and none spoke in opposition to the potential updates. One attendee said people often visit downtown Alpharetta or other neighboring areas because they can park and spend the entire evening walking around. He said the alcohol ordinance updates could allow Milton to be a “cool” place to spend an evening.
The lack of resistance from residents is in keeping with recent alcohol-related initiatives by the city in recent years.
Though Milton has less liberal alcohol laws than its neighbors, residents have shown support for getting the city on par with surrounding areas.
A large majority, 76 percent, of Milton voters passed the “brunch bill” referendum last year, which allows for earlier on-site consumption of alcohol on Sundays.
There was also little pushback when the city updated its alcohol ordinance in 2017. Included in the 2017 updates were three new licenses — incidental, BYOB and limited tap. The incidental license allows businesses to offer complimentary wine or beer. However, businesses with an incidental license were not permitted to sell food. The city could change that regulation with its latest updates. An example given was a cheese shop wanting to offer wine tastings along with its products on special occasions.
The BYOB license allows customers to bring their own wine or beer to a business for on-site consumption. Matilda’s music venue was recently granted a BYOB license.
The limited tap license permits businesses to pour up to four types of kegged beer at non-food related businesses.
The 2017 alcohol ordinance update also expanded Milton’s open carry areas to Deerfield Parkway and the Birmingham Crossroads area in addition to downtown Crabapple.