GS and Statesboro community questions city alcohol ordinance

Taisha White

After the first Statesboro city council meeting of 2017 called for the alcohol license suspension of six local businesses, the community is split on whether or not the alcohol ordinance time frame is too long.

Statesboro speaks

At the city council meeting, Clyde Al Chapman III, manager of Gnat’s Landing, spoke on why he feels the time frame of five years should be a lower number.

“We have the five-year thing, it may go to two years. I think three years is a little much. I also think 24-month probation is a long period as well, but that is just my opinion,” Chapman said.

Chapman added that the time frame should be reduced due to the clean slate of his business and the constant changes that the ordinance has went through over the years. Gnat’s has received one violation in the past five years.

“When that one occurred [violation], I told my staff, ‘Hey, we are on probation essentially for a year’. That year goes by, I told my staff, ‘Great job. We need to keep doing what we are doing, keep rolling with the system and let’s make sure this thing is right,'” Chapman said. “Six months later, the ordinances change and it was one way but now it’s another. You end up not having a violation to having one for something else.”

The alcohol ordinance, also known as An Ordinance Amending Chapter Six of the Statesboro Code of Ordinances, is a list of rules regarding the regulations of alcohol beverage sales in the Statesboro community.

The ordinance 

Back in March of 2016, the 49-page alcohol ordinance was approved for revisions. These revisions included the Training for Intervention Procedures alcohol course for all bartenders, bouncers and other employees. Revisions went into effect July 1, 2016.

That ordinance, under Sec. 6-19-c (Probation, suspension, revocation of license; administrative hearing, administrative hearing fee) reads as follows:

(10) In considering the term of suspension, whether to permanently revoke the license or whether to impose terms and conditions of probation on the license, the Mayor and City Council shall consider the following factors: a. The gravity of the violation; b. Any previous violations within the past five years period as measured from the date of previous offense to the date of the current offense; c. Actions of the licensee, its employees, subcontractors or agents in connection with the violation

Council defends

City Council member Jeff Yawn explains how the five year term is beneficial.

“I cannot say that five years is the perfect number,” Yawn said. “We knew that we wanted the ability to evaluate a business or business owner’s history to evaluate whether or not we believed them to be responsible enough to sell alcohol to our community.”

Yawn also believes that there is a possibility that the ordinance can be knocked down to a lower number and the council is committed to creating an ordinance that works best for the city of Statesboro.

GS conflicted

Morgan Bryan, freshman special education major, thinks that the city council and the businesses will be able to focus more on other issues if the time frame is knocked down.

“The city council will be able to focus on what is currently going on instead of going five years into the past,” Bryan said. “I also think that is good for the businesses because they can keep track of the business and what they are providing to students and other people around Statesboro.”

Flynt Lovett, junior computer science major, believes that the time frame should be knocked down, but is concerned for consistent violations that may occur.

“I think knocking it down to two years would be a better decision. I am more comfortable with that,” Lovett said. “It might be better for businesses in the long run, but I am concerned with repetitive offenses from the businesses and students.”