Beer Board Says Yes to Hartline's Proposed Changes to Alcohol Ordinance

November 4, 2019

In a brief meeting and unargumentative meeting on Tuesday, the Dade Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, or so called "beer board," acceded unanimously to District 2 County Commissioner Phillip Hartline's proposed changes to the county alcohol ordinance. When finalized, and subject to approval by the Dade County Commission, the amendment will serve to make Dade's rules for selling distilled spirits by the drink the same as those for fermented beverages, geographically in any case.


The section of the alcohol ordinance that deals with beer and wine specifies they may only be served on premises immediately adjacent to major state highways or within two miles of an interstate highway exit or entrance ramp.


The section that deals with distilled spirits specifies that they may served only at establishments within two miles of an interstate highway exit or entrance ramp.


The amended ordinance will make the rules consistent for both types of beverages, allowing both to be sold at businesses either on a state highway or close to the interstate. In effect, under the old rule the Mtn Top Cafe atop Lookout Mountain, which presently sells wine and beer, would not have been able to sell mixed drinks because though it is on 136 East, a state highway, it is nowhere near an interstate exit. Under the new rules, it will be able to add mixed drinks to its menu if it likes.


Patty Murphy, the tax office employee who acts as administrator for the beer board, said that Dade County Attorney Robin Rogers will have a completed amendment to that effect ready for the county commission to vote on at its regular November meeting this Thursday.   


(Photo: Patty Murphy and ABC Board Chairman Smokey Russell at last month's county commission meeting.)


Also discussed at the Oct. 29 beer board meeting was the question of what to do about the Trenton Golf Club. Commissioner Hartline, who attended the meeting by conference call so as not to leave his job site, brought up the matter of the golf club in relation to the geographical specifications. "If we let them [sell], then it would take away from that having to be off a state route, right?" he asked. The golf club is on Back Valley Road, a county road, and well away from the interstate.


Distance wasn't the problem, said Ms. Murphy: "He wanted a variance, which the board wasn’t willing to give," she said. "We tried to look at different ways to make it work with him." 


The rules provide for stores to sell packaged alcoholic beverages and for restaurants to sell alcohol by the drink. The golf club doesn't fall into either of those categories, said Ms. Murphy. "We don’t have anything to suit him in the ordinance," she said. Now, she said, the club manager plans to fill out a new application and the board will go from there.


Another proposed amendment to the liquor laws, one to allow for alcohol sales at event such as weddings, which was brought up at last month's county commission meeting at the behest of event venue operators, will not come back before the commission until December, said Ms. Murphy. Attorney Rogers is on it, she said, but: "I don’t know if we can get the language put together before next week.”  


And one final tidbit (drop?) of beer board news is that Hicks Hollow Farm is applying for a license, said Ms. Murmpy. Hicks Hollow Farm, which operates a haunted house at Halloween, is discussing several possibilities, she said. “Today he was talking venue," said Ms. Murphy. "Then he was talking a restaurant.” Or possibly karaoke a couple of nights a week, she added. “I don’t know until we get the application in exactly what they’re going to do," said Ms. Murphy.

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