Thursday, March 8, 2012
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Gwinnett Daily Post
LAWRENCEVILLE -- Despite overwhelmingly favorable votes this week, wine aficionados won't be able to buy a bottle anywhere they want in Gwinnett this weekend.
Votes on Gwinnett and Buford ballots now make the law uniform across all jurisdictions, but it begins in Buford on March 18 while unincorporated Gwinnett stores will have to wait almost three months.
Buford City Commission Chairman Phillip Beard said the board will certify this week's referendum, which brought in a vote of 269 to 191, on Monday. The board won't change license fees, and the new law will apply that week.
"We set our ordinance up so we didn't have to wait," he said. "I don't think they'll be any revenue gains. I think it'll just shift buying habits."
The new law could help with the city's tourism, allowing people at Lake Lanier for the weekend to run to the grocery store for a six-pack of beer on Sundays, but Beard said the city is just glad to play by the same rules as the 13 other local cities that passed referenda last November.
"It just sets a level playing field," he said. "It's easier for police to enforce. It's easier for people to understand."
Gwinnett's law, which applies to grocery stores that are outside of city limits, does not take effect until June 1. Commissioners will have to set new rates for alcohol licenses selling seven days a week.
The countywide vote passed by a wide margin, with two out of three voters saying yes to the end of the blue law.