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Asylum's Liquor License Hearing Delayed

City's wording mistake causes issue.

The city's License Review Board is delaying a hearing regarding live entertainment and hard liquor sales at East Atlanta Village's Asylum because of a wording mistake on the panel's agenda.

The LRB was to have heard arguments regarding the issue at its Jan. 8 meeting, but had to delay because of the error.

As written on the agenda, the "due cause" hearing concerned:

Application of ASHC, LLC d/b/a Asylum Restaurant, Brian Michael Sawyer, agent. Location licensed to operate a restaurant liquor beer and wine consumed on premises, at 543 Flat Shoals Avenue S.E. (due cause/operating a business without a occupation tax registration certificate/allowing live entertainment although the restaurant has not been approved for live entertainment) NPU-W CD#5 YW

The problem is the Asylum, which is at 543 Flat Shoals Ave. SE, does have an occupation tax registration certificate. What it doesn't have is approval for live entertainment.

A new due cause notice has to be issued without the occupation tax wording and then a hearing can be held before the LRB, which meets twice a month.

At the crux of the controversy is Asylum's interpretation of a city ordinance that dictates how far establishments that sell hard liquor — alcohol other than beer and wine — must be from residential homes if they also offer live entertainment.

The city's regulations dictate that such an establishment can't be within 300 feet of a private residence.

Neighborhood Planning Unit-W's contention is that the distance should be measured from building to building and that Asylum is barred from offering live entertainment and selling hard alcohol because it's within 300 feet of a house on Stokeswood Avenue SE.

NPU-W says the interpretation of the distance and measurements should be building to building and that Asylum can't do both.

Asylum contends the measurement should be front door to front door and that by that interpretation, it falls outside the 300-foot minimum.

Ron Lall, an NPU-W representative who was at Tuesday's LRB meeting, told East Atlanta Patch he was on the city's Alcohol Technical Advisory Group formed several years ago to look at issues related to establishments that sold liquor.

Its members came up with the distance rule at that time to limit the potential noise generated by those bars onto residences.

Any reading of the regulation other than building to building is disingenuous, he said, because sound doesn't travel from the front door an establishment; it reverberates from the entire structure.

Andrew Studer January 09, 2013 at 03:46 PM
Wasn't this law what evenutally forced Echo Lounge shut down at the exact same location?
Stacey January 09, 2013 at 07:52 PM
Echo shut down because they had a restaurant liquor license but did not even have a kitchen. But then hit lots of red tape trying to get things fixed (which this might have been one of those roadblocks).
Shirley January 10, 2013 at 12:09 PM
It seems to me that East Atlanta would want a new business rather than a blighted building and since the area has been designated an emtertainment in the City Code, the distance requirement should not even matter
Shirley January 10, 2013 at 12:18 PM
Also you can have entertainment there and sell beer and wine so what's the logic for excluding liquor. One can get as drunk on wine and beer and the noise still is there. The Atlanta Code states: Sec. 10-94. - Certain areas exempt from distance restrictions for sale for consumption on premises. Any applicant for a license for the sale of malt beverages or wine for consumption on the premises located within the following area shall not be required to comply with the distance requirements set forth in section 10-88 (2) Any property located in the east Atlanta business district fronting on the east side of Flat Shoals Avenue between McPherson Avenue on the north and May Avenue on the south and all properties fronting on the west side of Flat Shoals Avenue between McPherson Avenue on the north and 559 Flat Shoals Avenue on the south; any property fronting on the south side of Glenwood Avenue between 1323 Glenwood Avenue on the west and Brownwood Avenue on the east and all properties fronting on the north side of Glenwood Avenue between Haas Avenue on the west and 1246 Glenwood Avenue on the west.

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