After twenty years of inactivity, the Snellville City Council intends to awaken the Snellville Development Authority to focus on economic development throughout the city. Snellville Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer hopes to appoint members to the revived Council as early as August 23.
Posts Tagged ‘Snellville’
Ending years of contentious political and legal fights, Snellville voters turned on the taps for restaurants to sell beer and wine on Sundays clearing the way for seven local restaurants whose licenses were voided back in January to open their bars this Sunday. Other establishments will have to wait three weeks to being pouring.
For years, Snellville Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer has maintained that Sunday alcohol sales are the linchpin to the city’s economic future, with opponents arguing the perils of alcohol accessibility and its affront to religion.
“The people of Snellville have spoken,” Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer said after the vote at City Hall. “We won. Now we can put this thing behind us and move Snellville forward again.”
In other Snellville news, the City continues to struggle with its 30-year snail mascot.
A Gwinnett County judge will hear arguments this week on whether the taps in Snellville will continue to flow on Sunday.
The opposition wants the judge to overturn the Snellville City Council’s Dec. 14 decision to approve Sunday sales by council vote arguing that such a change can only be done by a public referendum vote.
“This is not about religion. This is not about prohibition. It’s not about standing in the way of progress. Progress is giving people the right to vote,” [Attorney for the opponents Rick] Stepp said. “These are residents. They want a say.”
Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer doesn’t see it that way. He believes the plaintiffs, namely the mayor’s political nemesis Robert Jenkins, are standing in the way of economic prosperity by promoting “some moral mumbo jumbo.”
“Those people who are doing this are trying to destroy Snellville,” said Oberholtzer, who plans to attend the hearing in Lawrenceville. “I will be there to testify if necessary.”
A Gwinnett County judge issued a temporary restraining order against Snellville prohibiting issuance of additional Sunday liquor licenses for the next 30 days. The judicial prohibition comes two weeks after the Snellville City Council voted to allow restaurants to serve liquor on Sundays. The judge will decide whether to issue a permanent injunction prohibiting Sunday liquor licenses on January 27.
Eight Snellville residents filed suit arguing that the City Council acted unlawfully when it amended its liquor laws by a council vote rather than public referendum.
Seven restaurants already have obtained beer and wine licenses, and they began pouring two Sundays ago. The judge’s order won’t stop alcohol sales at those restaurants.
That in itself is a victory for the city, Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer said.
“We won the first round,” Oberholtzer said. “We’re still serving.”
By a vote of 4 to 2, the Snellville City Council approved amendments to its liquor ordinance to allow restaurants to serve liqour on Sundays and to extend closing time from 12:00 a.m. to 1:55 a.m.
“I’m relieved we can now start building a better Snellville,” Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer said after the vote that drew a crowd of more than 150 people at City Hall.
Former Councilman Robert Jenkins spoke out against the measure. “This city was built by family people. … That did not include alcohol a lot of the time.”
The City will accept applications for Sunday licenses beginning today.
After refusing to allow restaurants to pour on Sundays, the Snellville City Council twice loosened its liquor ordinances. The Council voted 3-2 to allow local businesses to conduct winetastings and then voted 4-1 to approve a liquor license for a bowling alley. More than 150 Snellville residents filed into City Hall to see the vote and voice their opinions.
Councilman Tod Warner, who pushed the two measures Monday, said the intent of the wine tasting was to allow a struggling business owner to use his body of knowledge to stay afloat.
To allay fears of customers drinking in mass quantities, Warner said wine aficionados often sip the wine, swirl it in their mouths and spit it out.
The liquor debate is still hotly contested in Snellville.
Larry Rutledge, a deacon at Snellville First Baptist Church, pleaded with the council not to make alcohol more accessible.
“[Alcohol] is the most destructive substance we have in this country,” Rutledge said. “I would hope and pray that as Christians … you would stand up and be against this thing.”
That struck a cord with resident Karl Bostick, who collects wines.
“I’m a Christian, and I drink wine,” Bostick said. “They are small samples, so that you have the ability to taste a bottle of wine before you purchase it. This is not a license to party.”
There may be a end in sight for the continuing, continuing, continuing, and continuing crematory battle in Snellville. No deal yet and there remains division on the City Council, but the parties are exploring resolution.
The city attorney will have a recommendation within 60 days on whether to settle or “take our chances” in court.
In the fight that keeps going and going and going, the Snellville Board of Appeals revoked the City’s issuance of certificates of occupancy and development conformance. By a vote of 3-2, the Board ruled that the building plan submitted by the crematory in 2006 differed substantially from the actual operation that opened in September, including the installation of a smokestack.
The Board overruled the city planning department, which judged earlier that the crematory was not substantially different from its original plans and issued the certificates.
The matter will go back to the City Council for a vote sometime in November.
After losing the first and second rounds in the fight against the crematory, Snellville City Council member Kelly Kautz has introduced a proposed ordinance to prevent businesses such as hospitals and crematories —- one crematory in particular —- from polluting the air. The ordinance would place specific limits on mercury and dioxin/furan emissions for any incinerator of bodies, body parts or infectious wastes.
The proposed ordinance was modeled after a Pennsylvania ordinance, which was modeled after the Clean Air Act.
While the proposed ordinance excludes pre-existing facilities, but would prevent any air-polluting facilities within 300 yards of residential properties in Snellville and require businesses to self-monitor their emissions and report them to the city.
The proposal already faces opposition from within the City Council with Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer objecting to its introduction and first reading:
“The basis of the whole ordinance scares me because the person who wrote it has no experience in environmental law. She’s a trial lawyer,” Oberholtzer said. “What I understand is that she cut and pasted different ordinances together,” he added.
The proposal will be voted on at the October 13 meeting of the City Council at 7:30 p.m. in the City Council Room of Snellville City Hall.
After weeks of delay, Snellville seems to have conceded that it has no legal right to stop a proposed crematorium. Faced with neighborhood opposition, the City Council had delayedissuing a business permit so it could conduct environmental studies. City Manager Russell Treadway spent two weeks researching the environmental impact of crematories and announced at the City Council meeting that he found no hard evidence that crematories are dangerous.
While conceding that the crematorium could legally open, the council did approve a new ordinance allowing city employees to regulate the emissions from crematories.
UPDATE: Here are the meeting minutes from the Council’s July 31 Meeting and August 25 Meeting. Seems the delay was not due to the environmental study. Instead, parking requirements seem to be the basis of the delay. There was a motion for an investigation regarding the crematory Certificate of Occupancy, zoning application, and subsequent permitting or any other issue was made, but failed 3-3. The city has the authority to call for an investigation into the “affairs of the city or conduct of any department, office, or agency”.