Houston, Peach approve Sunday alcohol sales

PERRY -- Residents in all of Houston County will be allowed to buy alcohol on Sundays by late August, when referendums approved by voters Tuesday are expected to go into effect.

Commissioners will begin working on regulations for the new laws Wednesday, said Chairman Tommy Stalnaker.

“There are some guidelines and ordinances we need to get done,” Stalnaker said. “What we don’t want to have are differences between the county and the cities.”

Voters in the unincorporated areas of Houston County approved two referendums to allow alcohol to be sold by-the-drink and by-the-package on Sundays.

Peach County voters approved a by-the-drink referendum.

With all precincts reporting, Houston voters approved Sunday sales by-the-drink 4,455 to 3,205. Also, 4,346 voters approved package sales while 3,306 disapproved.

Peach County voters approved Sunday sales by-the-drink 2,149 to 1,623.

Houston and Peach county commissioners added questions to the July ballot asking voters whether alcohol sales should be allowed on Sundays after many Middle Georgia areas approved similar measures in November.

“When the other surrounding cities and counties passed everything, we wanted to go back and make sure we’re being as competitive as possible,” said Michael Dinkins, Peach County commissioner.

State legislators dropped a ban against Sunday package sales last year, and governments asked voters for the first time in November whether to allow the sales in their respective cities and counties. Measures for Sunday alcohol sales by-the-drink also were taken up at the same time in some areas.

Middle Georgia areas with some version of Sunday alcohol sales include Warner Robins, Centerville, Perry, Macon, Bibb County and Byron.

“We likely would be selling on Sunday if the measure goes through,” Bill Taylor, a co-owner of Landings Golf Club, which is located in the unincorporated area of Houston County, said before the votes were tallied.

Stalnaker said earlier this month that businesses in the unincorporated areas requested the referendums be considered because they felt they had a financial disadvantage to nearby city businesses.

Taylor said the golf course hasn’t seen any dramatic drop in number of golf visitors.

“It probably has some effect on our overall sales in the bars,” Taylor said. “Fewer people stop to eat if they can’t have a beer with their food.”