Thursday, February 26, 2015

City moves closer to approving all-ages venues, public input sought

Posted By on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 at 5:40 PM

The City announced today that City Manager Stephanie Cutter "will recommend to Council the addition of a new permit allowing patrons between the ages of 18 and 21 into venues that are offering live entertainment. Currently, those under the age of 21 are not allowed in bars," a spokesperson says.

The definition of live entertainment is defined as "a vocal or instrumental performance by a natural person(s) who is physically present in the establishment and specifically excludes disc jockeys and karaoke performances. This option would be an add-on permit, and could be revoked or suspended separately from the primary alcohol license," the City says.

For more than a year, the City has been working to draft revisions to Savannah’s Alcoholic Beverage Ordinance. Based on that feedback, the City says they are seeking additional input on the boundaries of the go-cup zone, which currently extends from Hutchinson Island to Jones Street. The proposed ordinance includes an extension of the zone south to Park Avenue, between Whitaker and Drayton streets.

"The expansion of the go-cup boundary to include Forsyth Park was proposed to help clear up confusion about the zone’s southern boundary, and to make legal a practice that is common today in Forsyth Park with frequent special events," the City says. "Some residents, however, have expressed concern that broadening the zone will encourage increased outdoor consumption of alcohol in residential areas."

Additional feedback on the go-cup zone is being sought, and can be offered at

Other recent proposed revisions made to the draft ordinance since its release in September include:

• The removal of the provision that would require anyone under 21 to leave an alcohol-serving restaurant at 10 pm. Those under 21 may now stay in these establishments until closing.

• The removal of mandated security staffing requirements for alcohol-serving establishments.• The allowance of minors within a business that serves complimentary alcohol, such as nail salons and spas.

• The expansion of residency for managers to within 50 miles of the establishment.

• Because of continuing discussion/feedback with bar restaurant owners, bar cards will be required for all bar/restaurant personnel that serve alcohol. The City is actively looking to contract out the service of processing and providing bar cards in an effort to streamline the process

• The inclusion of required alcohol liability insurance for all businesses with a permit

The tentative schedule is for proposed revisions to come before City Council during a workshop in April, which would be followed by two readings of the draft during subsequent Council Meetings.
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