In a light turnout, voters approved the measure 511-424, which is 55 percent to 45 percent, respectively. About 20 percent of the city’s 4,667 registered voters turned out.
Although church groups and others actively protested the city’s liquor-by-the-drink referendum in November 2000, Eloise Hixon, assistant city elections manager, said Tuesday’s election was conducted without incident. Voters defeated the previous referendum 858-597.
Fort Oglethorpe Mayor Judd Burkhart said the referendum's passage should help the city’s economic development efforts.
He said a major hotel chain and several upscale restaurants are eyeing Fort Oglethorpe locations, and the ability to sell liquor will be helpful in drawing them to the city.
“I think the city is getting ready to explode in progress,” he said.
“On Battlefield Parkway we’ve got an even playing field now,” he said, referring to the city of Ringgold’s charge to annex property along the busy thoroughfare.
Ringgold voters approved liquor by the drink in March 2000.
In Fort Oglethorpe restaurants wishing to add liquor to their menus must comply with the same requirements outlined in the city’s malt beverage ordinance permitting beer and wine sales: after obtaining a city liquor license each establishment must seat at least 125 patrons and derive at least 80 percent of gross receipts from food sales.
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