Political notebook: Lilburn annexation to be tied to liquor laws, rep says

A state representative could give Lilburn the land city leaders want to annex - but only if the city changes its liquor laws.

Rep. Clay Cox, who lives in the city, said he will propose a local bill to allow the proposed annexation of more than 100 businesses, but only if the city council agrees to the change its alcohol ordinance to match the county's.

The city has faced criticism for outlawing entertainment such as live bands, karoake and pool tables in establishments that serve alcohol.

Cox held a town hall meeting for business owners affected by the proposed annexation at "The Dumpster," a restaurant on Indian Trail Road.

There, he said, business owners said they did not want to squash their entertainment offerings. Gas station owners also complained about the city's policy outlawing the sale of single beers.

"It's not fair for a city to annex a business and all of a sudden tell them what they are doing is illegal," Cox said, saying his bill would stipulate the city's alcohol ordinance would have to change for the annexation to take effect.

He is also considering requiring a referendum for the about 24 voters whose homes would be annexed in the proposal, which is much smaller than the original that would have doubled the city's population.

Cox, who is the head of Gwinnett's House delegation, said he found a bill that could be amended to add the county's proposed change to allow alcohol sales on Sunday at the Gwinnett Braves stadium.

A House member who sponsored another alcohol proposal said he's amenable to the change, but Cox has to ask a senator to guide the bill in that chamber.

The Lilburn Republican had proposed a law change earlier in the session, but his efforts were thwarted when a proposal to allow Sunday package sales statewide was taken off the table earlier this month.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post. Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.