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Liquor by the Drink? In Oconee? It’s Complicated

Photo Credit: Lee Becker

Bishop House.

At a time when Oconee County officials are considering a referendum to allow the sale of liquor by the drink to entice restaurants to the area, the city of Bishop is going in the opposite direction by considering a rezone request to convert a historic home into a restaurant that will not be allowed to sell even beer and wine.

The parallel actions show the complexity of decisions that could be before voters in November.

Citizens in the county’s four cities will vote in a referendum, if the Oconee County Board of Commissioners decides to put on the ballot, as is widely expected.

But, if voters across the county approve, the decision will affect only the unincorporated parts of the county.

Each of the cities will have to hold its own referendum to allow voters in those cities to decide if they want to allow liquor by the drink inside city boundaries.

At present, the focus of discussion in the county is on the sale of liquor by the drink in restaurants, but county—and city—officials also could ask voters to decide on Sunday sales in restaurants, grocery and convenience stores and even on whether to have liquor stores in the county.