Monday, December 14, 2009
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Gwinnett Daily Post
SNELLVILLE -- By a vote of 4-2, Snellville city leaders adopted an ordinance Monday that will allow the sale of alcohol on Sundays. In the same action, Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer and council members voted to extend the hours of alcohol sales to 1:55 a.m. Monday through Saturday. Alcohol sales will stop at midnight on Sundays, according to city manager Russell Treadway.
The vote was preceded by passionate arguments from business owners and city residents on both sides of the issue. Those who spoke in favor of allowing Sunday sales stressed the much-needed attraction of high-end restaurants and therefore high-end retail stores to Snellville. According to councilman Tom Witts, "In business, one follows the other."
Opposition to the measure also turned out in full force Monday. Former councilman Robert Jenkins sparred with Oberholtzer and questioned the legality of Monday's actions. Jenkins maintained that a referendum is required, although city attorney Mike Williams advised city leaders that Monday's actions were strictly legal. Councilwoman Kelly Kautz agreed with Jenkins and suggested that any revenues the city might see as a result of allowing Sunday sales would pale in comparison to what the city might lose if just one resident challenges Monday's vote.
Jenkins also argued that the availability of alcohol is undermining the family values on which Snellville was built.
When the matter was put to a vote, Kautz and newly elected councilman Mike Sabbagh voted against the ordinance. Oberholtzer, Witts, mayor pro tem Barbara Bender and councilman Tod Warner voted in favor of adopting the ordinance.