Special alcohol permit moratorium repealed, new requirements in place

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BLUE RIDGE, Ga – The existing Fannin County alcohol ordinance doesn’t address special events, and the county’s in the process of rewriting it. In the meantime, the board of commissioners enacted special requirements for those seeking a special event alcohol beverage permit.

At an earlier meeting, a special event alcohol permit moratorium was put into place to give county attorney Lynn Doss to review the special event permit. Some new language was put into place to lift the moratorium.

Going forward for special events, alcohol events aren’t allowed on Sundays, and it can’t take place for longer than two consecutive days. The current special event protocol will be in place until the ordinances are updated hopefully at the end of the year. The permit strictly addresses private events on private property, but open to the public and in some cases private events.

Special use permits would only be for beer and wine.

Those hosting events on private property are required to hire a certified off-duty officer. The county isn’t held liable for these events.

Those applying for a special event alcohol permit must meet all state guidelines. It will cost around $50 to apply for a permit. Anyone who serves alcohol in Georgia must pass a background check, which is currently reported to the state. A facility in Georgia can only hold 24 special use permits a year.

Additionally, if a disruptive event with multiple complaints takes place, the county can neglect to grant the same group another permit. The sheriff also reserves to right to revoke a permit on the spot.

Several events in Fannin County are tourism-driven, but other events donate funds raised to non-profits in the community.

Previously, the majority of special events/festivals took place within the city limits of Blue Ridge. However, now more event spaces have opened in the county, and some would allow alcohol to be served on the premises with a proper permit.

Any event held on county/public property such as parks would prohibit alcohol sales even during a festival. In the past, these special events haven’t resulted in problems for the county or the city. Many people purchase tickets to even attend.

Liquor sales aren’t allowed within the county, but the city can sell liquor, beer, and wine. Liquor requires a vote, and when alcohol was placed on the ballot previously, it failed. The commissioners at the time found a way around the citizen’s opinion and brought just beer and wine into the county.

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