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.