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SAHS wants to increase number of events serving alcohol

In an effort to raise needed funds the Senoia Area Historical Society (SAHS) is asking that the city’s alcohol ordinance be amended to allow an increase of up to six events per year where alcoholic beverages can be offered. City attorney Drew Whalen was asked to investigate the proposal and report back to the city council.

SAHS representative Cindy Divido in advocating for an increase in the number of events where beer or wine could be served with food told the council that the inclusion of beer or wine with those events could help bolster the organization’s fundraising capabilities. Divido also noted that SAHS could obtain the beverages from vendors at a very reduced rate.

Divido, in explaining that it can be difficult for non-profits to raise money, also noted that the SAHS proposal had the support of area restaurants.
Divido’s presentation was preceded by a letter from SAHS President Lynne Wendt who stated that SAHS would benefit from being permitted to exceed the city's current two event per year ordinance requirement where alcohol is served.

“We want to assure the city that the SAHS has no intention to conduct any regular or bar activities and would in no way compete with local restaurants. What we propose to permit would be special events that would be fundraising events for the SAHS. We believe that it would be in the SAHS’s best interest to be able to request more than two permits per year to accommodate our fundraising needs so that we have the flexibility to plan for more than two events where we offer a choice of beer or wine to be served with food. As a volunteer organization, it is not likely that such special events would be more frequent,” Wendt said.

Commenting on the alcohol ordinance amendment request, city administrator Richard Ferry said his only concern would be if a large number of non-profits follow suit and take business away from local restaurants. Mayor Robert Belisle said he, too, shared that concern.

Divido in response noted that 10 of the city’s 12 non-profits are churches.

Belisle acknowledged her point, but wondered if approving the request would put the city at risk in coming years. He also explained that the city might see an increase in the number of non-profits in the future.

Councilman Jeff Fisher also weighed in, expressing that potential that, if approved, other non-profits might want to increase their fundraising efforts to include additional events where alcohol is served. Fisher suggested the limit be increased to four times per year for a year or two to see how other organizations address the issue.

Councilman Larry Owens essentially agreed, saying he would be willing to go to four events per year to “test the waters.”
The discussion ended with Belisle asking Whalen to look into the proposal and report back to the council.

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