Clarkston City Council discusses allowing beer and wine delivery

The Clarkston City Council met on Tuesday, March 30, to discuss allowing Gopuff, a delivery only business, to deliver beer and wine, and asked questions of Gopuff representative Cameron Kilberg. The Council also discussed the Rowland Street pedestrian enhancements and trailhead project. Photo by Zoe Seiler.

Clarkston, GA — Packaged beer and wine may soon be able to be delivered to Clarkston residents through delivery only businesses.

During the City Council’s March 30 work session, the board discussed an ordinance amendment that would allow a retail delivery shop to sell packages of beer, malt beverages and wine.

Gopuff has requested this change. The business delivers food and drinks, cleaning supplies, home needs, over-the-counter medication, and is a delivery only business. Gopuff’s Clarkston location is requesting the change so it can venture into delivering beer and wine as a retail delivery shop.

According to the agenda packet, Gopuff is requesting that the following language be added to the ordinance: “Retail Delivery Shop means a retail establishment, which is engaged in the retail sale of food products, household goods and other sundry items for delivery only, that has a total interior floor area of not more than 10,000 square feet.”

Currently, the city has a moratorium on new licenses for the sale of packages of beer, malt beverages and wine unless the business is a growler shop, specialty wine shop or a grocery store, and Gopuff doesn’t qualify as any of those options.

The moratorium went into effect in July 2016 as a way to limit the types of businesses that were selling alcohol in the city. Vice Mayor Awet Eyasu recalled that at the time there were about 15 stores in the city that sold alcohol and the City Council felt the need for that need had been met.

So the moratorium was a way to stop the flourishing of businesses that primarily sell alcohol, Eysau said.

“What I recall is that there was a sense that we were getting so many of this one kind of business, convenience stores,” City Attorney Stephen Quinn added. “We just wanted to have more of a variety and there was a feeling that that need had been fully met within the community by the ones that existed at that time.”

Gopuff is requesting that their business model of no in-person contact and delivery only be added as an exemption in the ordinance.

“I thought it was a reasonable way of accomplishing what they seek to accomplish,” Quinn said. “I just see it as a political policy decision for the council. Do you feel that the negative of new convenience stores that we wanted to prohibit is similarly applicable to this business model, or do you feel that it’s different enough that you would like to allow it?”

Some concerns were raised about making sure someone under 21 years old could not order alcohol. Gopuff representative Cameron Kilberg explained that the company has requirements to follow under the state law for checking someone’s age and that includes scanning IDs.

Upon delivery, the drivers will scan one’s ID through a system to make sure the ID is real and the person is 21 or older, Kilberg said. She later clarified that the person who placed the order must be 21 or older and must be the one to collect the delivery.

“At that point, it has to be left with that individual,” Kilberg said. “So we can’t do contactless delivery where if you were not ordering an alcoholic or age approved item we can leave your product, your bag at the door, we can’t do that for age approved items.”

The City Council also discussed changes to the Rowland Street pedestrian enhancements and trailhead project. On Jan. 12, the city approved the project and awarded the bid to Sol Construction in the amount of about $1.08 million, according to the agenda packet.

The project has six segments: a passive park at the intersection of Mell and Northern Avenues; improvements on Rowland Street from North Indian Creek to Norman Street; converting Hill Street to a two-lane roadway between Rogers and Rowland Streets; a section of Rowland Street from Market Street to Norman Street will become a pedestrian walkway.

The city has prepared three change orders to the scope of work and the associated cost is $760,004. The changes include adding a sidewalk on Rowland Streets from North Indian Creek to Lovejoy.

On the south side of Rowland Street, the engineering firm, Collaborative Infrastructure Services, is looking to reset the granite curb and raise it by a few inches. One driveway will also have to be relocated said Larry Kaiser, an engineer with Collaborative Infrastructure Services.

“We’re looking at changing out drainage structures, old pipes that are corroded, relocating mailboxes closer to the road when we’re resetting the granite curb, and also adding some benches and trash containers as well,” Kaiser said.

The project also includes adding a sidewalk on Rogers Street from Market Street to North Indian Creek, paving and construction of two driveways in the Methodist Parking Lot, and removing the Hill Street raised landscape median and new granite curb.

“Essentially [the Hill Street] project is to remove the proposed median that we have as part of the original contract for Rowland Street, remove that median, remove the landscaping, remove the granite curb,” Kaiser said.

Hill Street would then be repaved and angled parking would be added on the east side of the street and double yellow striping will be painted for a two-lane road.

In other business, Mark Perkins was sworn in to the City Council after winning the special election on March 16 to fill YT Bell’s vacant seat. This brings the City Council back up to six members. Perkins will fill the remainder of Bell’s term and will be up for reelection later this year.

“I just want to say thank you to everyone who got out and voted,” Perkins said. “It was a cold and rainy day after several weeks of sunshine so thank you for exercising your voice, and I appreciate all the staff of the city of Clarkson and those that administered the elections as well, just for their service to our community.”

The City Council will meet next on April 6 for a regular meeting at 7 p.m. via Zoom.

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