The Douglasville City Council gave the go-ahead at Monday’s regular voting meeting for two new businesses to locate in the city.
A development plan for a Jason’s Deli sandwich shop on Chapel Hill Road in Douglasville was unanimously approved by the council.
Meanwhile, the council voted 4-3 to approve the alcoholic beverages license for DC Package Store, which plans to locate in the old Cinco de Mayo building at 3281 Highway 5. Council members Chris Watts, LaShun Burr Danley and Terry Miller voted against giving the alcohol license to DC Package Store.
A public hearing was held regarding the alcohol license application by DC Package Store at the council’s work session Thursday.
Miller represents the ward where the proposed package store will be located. He said he supports free markets and small businesses but that his family lives nearby and that he wished another business had chosen to locate where DC Package plans to open.
No one other than the applicant for DC Package, Kha Van Lee, spoke Thursday in favor of the application, but several spoke against.
Lisa Morchower, an Atlanta attorney hired by one of the other package store owners in the area, spoke on behalf of those opposing DC Package.
Morchower told the council Thursday that while DC Package store meets the city’s requirement that it be at least 2,500 feet from an existing package store, the city’s code would allow the council to deny the application.
Morchower said that nearby InTown Suites has 133 units, approximately half of those units have children in school living in them and that a school bus stop is very close to the proposed package store.
State Sen. Donzella James, D-Atlanta, spoke out against the package store on behalf of her constituents even though James’s Senate district does not include the area where DC Package will be located. James noted that her grandchildren live nearby.
And state Rep. Micah Gravley, R-Douglasville, also spoke against the package store on behalf of his constituents. Gravley, whose district includes the area where DC Package will be located, said he’s not one usually to stand in the way of businesses opening and that he doesn’t believe government should be used to limit competition.
But Gravley said there are three package stores within a one-miles radius of the DC Package location, that he has family who attend nearby Crossroads Church, and that he has concerns about the children who live near the package store.
“I know I wouldn’t want my children living with a radius of one mile or two miles of multiple package stores,” Gravley told the council.
Residents from the InTown Suites also spoke against the application.
Before Monday’s vote, Mayor Pro Tem Richard Segal cited population numbers in the city and county in making the case that the “market is growing.” He noted that Douglasville has nearly doubled in population since 2000.
Segal said because DC Package meets the zoning and distance requirements and the applicant meets the license requirement, he didn’t see how the council could deny the application.
To the argument Thursday by those opposing the new package store that a cluster of package stores was forming around Highway 5, Segal pointed out that DC Package is farther from the existing package stores in the area than where the recently closed package store at Douglas Boulevard and Highway 5 was.
As part of making that case, Segal said there was already precedent for a tighter cluster of package stores in the Highway 5 corridor. There are currently three package stores in the Highway 5 corridor — two on Highway 5 north of Interstate 20 and Arbor Place Beverage on Douglas Boulevard west of Highway 5. The recently closed store at Douglas Boulevard and Highway 5 was closer to the other three stores than DC Package further south of I-20 across from Publix will be.
And to the case made that DC Package would be too close to children living nearby, Segal said that the city council earlier in Monday’s meeting had approved changing the outlet manager for the alcoholic beverages license at Chuck E. Cheese’s on Douglas Boulevard with no concerns being raised by the public or council members about the fact that alcohol is being sold in a children’s entertainment business.
The discussion around Jason’s Deli was much less controversial.
John Lam, the representative for Jason’s Deli, was met by the council Thursday with open arms.
Councilman Mark Adams told Lam he was excited about Jason’s Deli coming to Douglasville.
Segal jokingly asked if Jason’s sells beer and wine, and Lam laughed and told him the deli does not sell alcohol.
With the development plan for the Douglasville Jason’s Deli approved, Jason’s can now get a building permit.
No time table for when Jason’s might begin construction or open was given at the council meetings Thursday and Monday.