WR council holds more alcohol hearings

WARNER ROBINS — The Warner Robins City Council continued its crackdown on bars that violated local ordinances, particularly those that served alcohol to underaged persons.

During its pre-council session Monday, City Council conducted hearings for Showtime and Neighbors Grill/Club 198. Showtime received a 30-day suspension of its liquor license and Neighbors Grill/Club 198 got a warning.

For Showtime, the suspension came as a result of multiple incidents taking place since it opened April 16. According to City Council documents, the establishment was the site of assaults, fighting and marijuana use April 25.

April 30, an underage person was allowed to enter the business and purchase alcohol. May 8, marijuana use took place in the parking lot and Showtime operated after hours.

“When you make decisions like this, you try to make the outcome or sanction proportionate to the activity that has taken place,” city councilman John Havrilla said. Neighbor’s Grill on the other hand had only the one violation in the year and a half since it opened.

April 17, the police sent in an underaged informant who was served alcohol.

Jason Holland, the acting general manager, informed City Council the bartender who sold the alcohol to the person had been fired.

He also said the business was making every effort to check IDs since the incident. Monday’s decision was the most recent hearing in a series due to violations the police department has found as it targets underage drinking.

During the May 18 meeting, City Council voted to give The Tavern a warning for allowing a person under 21 to enter, while Shenanigan’s alcohol license was suspended for 30 days. Shenanigans was charged with serving alcohol to a person under 21.

During Monday’s meeting, the mayor and City Council voted 4-3 to scale back Shenanigan’s punishment to 20 days after attorney Jeffrey Grube, representing owner Mark Robinson, informed the council of the business lost in the last two weeks.

“The financial impact this has had on Shenanigan’s has been tremendous,” Grube said, adding it costs $20,000 to $30,000 a month to operate the business.

“If this goes the complete 30 days, they may go out of business.”

Mayor Donald S. Walker and councilmen Terry Horton, Clifford Holmes and John Williams voted for the reduced time. “If we don’t act now, the man is going to be put out of business,” Walker said. “It’s not our job to put him out of business.”

However, councilmen Tom Simms, Havrilla and Bob Wilbanks saw it differently.

“What we’re trying to do is make sure people who sell alcohol are responsible business owners,” Simms said.

The City Council is expected to hold hearings this month for Yesterdaze, Aces & Eights and Cadillac II.

During Monday’s meeting, City Council also voted to place a 90-day moratorium on issuing sign permits. City attorney Jim Elliott said the action was a result of Conyers-based Southern Advertising threatening to challenge the city’s sign ordinance. Elliott said the time will be used to look over the ordinance.