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Council to OK Downtown Alcohol Exception
Tuesday, 15 December 2009

December 15--  The Vidalia City Council has decided to allow the sale of beer and wine for on-premises consumption in the downtown business district regardless of the distance from the nearest church.

It voted for the change at its meeting Monday night with a couple of stipulations, according to city manager Bill Torrance.

"They looked at making a specifield district which begins at 280-East and goes to Pine Street and begins at Leader Street and goes to Durden Street. In that area they are not going to measure the distance to the church and that would allow the Pal Theater to have on-premises consumption.  In addition to that, they added to it that no more than 35% of the sales of food and alcohol in combination could be derived from alcohol.  They've made where you wouldn't just have a bar that sets up, it must be in conjunction with a food service operation," he says.

The change was made at the request of Karl and Ann Owens to allow them to sell beer and wine at the downtown Pal Theater.  Owens and others in the downtown district noted the change would allow for the development of downtown restaurants and be good for business downtown.

The Vidalia First Baptist Church had objected to the change at a previous city council committee meeting.  Before the change, an establishment selling beer and wine had to be at least 300 feet away from the nearest church.  The Pal Theater failed to qualify because it was only 288 feet away from the church.

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