In May, I proposed to the rest of the council that we start working on a new ordinance to allow alcohol at public events. I decided to do this after feedback from some of my neighbors at the Mayor’s Day festivities – with several of them complaining that there was no alcohol for sale. I realized that events in Doraville – whether held by the city or by a third party – will never really be successful unless alcohol is allowed to be sold at them.
Council finally passed the ordinance to allow this at the October 15th meeting. I’m thrilled, and think this is a step in the right direction for future festivals and other events that might be held in our city.
A few people in the public meeting made comments questioning why this was necessary, and indicating that they had purchased alcohol from food truck vendors in the past. While I don’t now if this is true or not, I do not believe it was legal under our old ordinance.
Here is what our ordinances said regarding open containers prior to this month’s vote:
Sec. 11-20. – Open container is prohibited.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to possess an open container of any alcoholic beverage upon the public streets or highways of the City. It shall also be unlawful for any person to possess an open container of any alcoholic beverage upon private property which is open to the public except those facilities having a license from the City to sell alcoholic beverages or at portions of such facility which may be outside but adjacent to such facility. (b) Open container means any container which is immediately capable of being consumed from or the seal of which has been broken.
(Ord. No. 92-9, § 1, 11-2-92)
The section above is pretty clear that it was unlawful to have an open container of alcohol (beer, wine, etc) on a public street. There was no exception. In order to legally allow alcohol sales at outdoor events, we needed to amend the section above as follows:
Sec. 11-20.1 Exception for special events where the sale of alcohol has been authorized.
(a) Notwithstanding the provisions contained in subsection 11-20, concerning consumption and possession of alcoholic beverages in public streets, highways, and private property open to the public, there shall be an exception within the bounded area of a permitted special event where the sale of alcohol is authorized pursuant 3-45(a). Except for the provisions concerning consumption and possession of alcohol as set forth in this exception, any such sale, consumption, and/or possession of alcoholic beverages in the City shall be in compliance with the provisions of Chapter 3, “Alcoholic Beverages”, of this Code of Ordinances and the statutes and regulations of the State of Georgia with respect to sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages.
This addition to 11-20 allows the sale of alcohol at public events on a street, in a parking lot, or even a park. t wasn’t legal before, but I hope that we will start to see new events decide to come to Doraville that are a net benefit to our city and its residents!