Americus City Council Decides Against Event Centers Selling Alcohol

Published 9:43 am Tuesday, March 26, 2024

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The Americus City Council met on March 21rst. Henry Williams Jr. addressed the Council. Williams and his wife Pamela are owners of the event center, The Venue at 49, at 1209 Crawford St. Americus Ga. He detailed how they had made several trips before the council, for nearly two years, to find a way to sell alcohol on premises at the venue. He addressed concerns about a church being nearby. “By your own definition, a church is a permanent building where persons regularly assemble to worship, and is publicly designated as a church. The church hasn’t regularly assembled since 2020.”

Mayor Lee Kinnamon commented. “Let’s not conflate the issues. The one that is before us this evening is a drafted amendment to the City’s alcoholic beverage ordinance to allow for event centers to sell alcohol.” Kinnamon mentioned that this was the first issue, the proximity to the church the second.

City of Americus attorney Jimmy Skipper stated that the law of unintended consequences must be considered. “This doesn’t affect only this particular location. This affects every current and future event center that’s licensed in the City of Americus.” He mentioned that under the current ordinance, event centers are not authorized to have a license. Skipper stated that people were currently allowed to bring alcohol to an event center. However, the event center cannot sell it.

Council Member Daryl Dowdell addressed the couple, mentioning that he wanted them to know that not all ordinance changes took that long. “We did it for a business downtown, we changed a whole ordinance in a month”

At one point, Skipper held up the alcohol ordinance, showing an entire page of text. He informed the council that that was just the title.

Williams commented on event center rules, reiterating concerns the delays were due to location. “To bring your own bottle, and to drink as much as you like, next to the church, I just want any one of you to please explain to me how is that okay to have alcohol on the premises, but the business not be allowed to flourish by selling the alcohol to the customers who want to drink on premises.”

Skipper had drafted an amendment to the City’s alcoholic beverage ordinance for event centers to sell alcohol during an event, which the council voted on. Dowdell, Nelson Brown, and Nicole Smith voted in favor, with Charles Christmas, Kelvin Pless, Terrence Clemons, and Kinnamon voting against it, causing it to fail.