Peach voters to decide on Sunday sales of beer, wine

wcrenshaw@macon.comApril 24, 2014 

If recent history is any indication, a referendum to allow Sunday sales of packaged beer and wine in Peach County seems to have a good chance of passing.

In two previous referendums related to alcohol sales, Peach voters have come down on the side of lifting restrictions.

In 2010 voters overwhelmingly approved a liquor-by-the drink referendum with 4,561 voting yes and 2,756 voting no. Two years later, voters followed up by allowing Sunday liquor-by-the-drink sales with a vote of 2,149 to 1,643.

One selling point on those two referendums was that it could lure restaurants such as Applebee’s. County Commission Chairman Melvin Walker said he isn’t aware of any restaurants having located in Peach County as a result.

“It doesn’t appear we’ve had much action in terms of restaurants,” he said.

The new referendum would primarily affect convenience stores, because it only concerns beer and wine, not liquor. Regardless of whether the referendum passes, Sunday package sales of liquor will still be restricted in the unincorporated areas of the county.

However, Fort Valley and Byron have both already approved Sunday package sales of liquor, so they are allowed in those city limits.

Since the state lifted restrictions on Sunday alcohol sales in 2011, Middle Georgia cities and counties have been approving ordinances allowing sales in varying forms. With only a few exceptions, Sunday alcohol referendums in communities throughout the state have been approved.

Walker said he hasn’t heard of any organized opposition to the upcoming referendum, which will be voted on in the May 20 election.

“If there was a group against it, we would probably know by now,” he said.

With only a couple of local races on the ballot, he figures turnout will be relatively low.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

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