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Sugar Hill council discusses regulating movie showings

SUGAR HILL — Sugar Hill’s “Reels at Robinson,” a monthly outdoor movie series at E.E. Robinson Park, is one of the warmer seasons’ hottest family draws for the self-proclaimed Recreation City.

But residents’ increasing requests to stage movie nights of their own has the city contemplating how to regulate it.

At its monthly work session Monday night, Sugar Hill’s City Council continued formulating restrictions on those who rent Robinson’s amphitheater, as well as the city’s town green gazebo, Gary Pirkle Park and other outdoor gathering spots to show movies.

In addition to sharing admission fees, the city proposed limiting movie ratings to PG-13 and requiring conspicuous notice that the showings are private events and not city-sponsored. Also considered was whether to require movies conclude by 11 p.m. to limit noise.

Separately Monday, the council discussed whether to put Sunday package alcohol sales to a ballot initiative once the state allows municipalities to begin doing so in July. Should Sugar Hill decide to, City Attorney Frank Hartley said the council would have to announce by its September meeting its intent to vote on the issue in November.

Mayor Gary Pirkle opposed Sunday sales, but Councilmen Mike Sullivan, Curtis Northrup and Marc Cohen favored letting voters decide whether to expand the city’s beer and wine sales to that day.

“I don’t think we have anyone in the community suffering from lack of alcohol,” Pirkle said. “I don’t see where it’s going to lend anything to our city.”

Sullivan said sales revenue might be lost to neighboring cities that allow Sunday sales, and Cohen hinted residents might look to Gwinnett County’s third-largest city to take the lead on the issue.

“Personally, I don’t drink, but there are plenty of people who do,” Cohen said. “And if they want to on Sunday, I don’t want to be the one to stop them.”