What Macon-Bibb County looks at when approving an alcohol license
Anyone hoping to knock back a cold one or two while visiting Macon’s only movie theater is out of luck for now.
After an appeal hearing in June that went in favor of AmStar 16’s bid to sell beer and wine, a motion to approve the license at a called Macon-Bibb Commission meeting Tuesday failed to get enough votes to pass.
The vote was 4-3 in favor of the motion, but two commissioners were absent and five votes are needed to pass a motion.
Mayor Robert Reichert said after the meeting the vote meant it neither passed nor failed, and will be reconsidered at the Aug. 6 meeting.
“Maybe we will get five votes for it one way or the other and that will allow us to move forward,” he said.
The absent commissioners were Larry Schlesinger and Scotty Shepherd. Commission Clerk Janice Ross said Schlesinger is on vacation and Shepherd is ill.
Prior to the vote, commissioners Valerie Wynn and Mallory Jones, both of whom had previously opposed the license, said they would abstain. They also acknowledged they understood that for legal purposes an abstention is counted as a yes vote.
Both said they understand the county does not have a legal basis to deny the license, but said their constituents overwhelmingly oppose it so they did not want to vote yes.
“Even though it may count as a yes vote, I’m not going to vote on this particular measure because I’m against it,” Jones said.
Commissioners Joe Allen, Elaine Lucas and Bert Bivins voted no while commissioners Virgil Watkins and Al Tillman voted yes.
AmStar, located in north Macon on Zebulon Road, appealed a previous denial of the license, and a ruling concluded the county did not have legal standing to deny it, Reichert said.