COVIINGTON — An amendment to Newton County’s alcohol ordinance that makes it possible for alcohol to be served at Gaither’s at Myrtle Creek Farm has been approved by the Board of Commissioners.
Commissioners approved the change at their Feb. 19 meeting 4-1, with District 4 Commissioner J.C. Henderson dissenting.
The county’s Gaither’s Steering Committee has been working over the past year to make the the historic plantation house and grounds more attractive as a private events facility. The fact that alcohol was not allowed on the property was viewed as a serious drawback to marketing Gaither’s for weddings and other events. Committee members recommended last May that the county begin to develop an ordinance that would allow alcohol to be served during private events.
At the insistence of District 3 Commissioner Nancy Schulz, BOC members agreed last week to a last-minute change in the ordinance that would require anyone who pours alcohol to have a server’s permit in addition to the license required of the caterer or restaurant.
“My concern is that a lot of times a caterer will just hire someone for that evening, and they are pouring alcohol and they haven’t gone through the training and they aren’t accountable,” said Schulz. “I feel very strongly … that you need to apply the same accountability when you have a caterer that’s holding an event or providing service for an event that you would have with a restaurant or a full service establishment.”
Commissioners agreed to incorporate Schulz’s stipulation in order to move forward with the ordinance change. District 1 Commissioner Stan Edwards noted that Gaither’s has “a lot of pending projects depending on what happens tonight.”
Henderson opposed allowing alcohol at Gaither’s for a number of reasons, including the fact that alcohol is not allowed at other county-owned facilities. Henderson also reiterated his objection to the county owning a property that was once an operating plantation.