The council unanimously approved amending its minimum food ordinance for licensed establishments throughout the city to be at least 50 percent of a restaurant’s annual gross proceeds.
The city originally had in place a 60 percent minimum for food sales.
However, in the city’s downtown district, the restrictions are less stringent as those restaurants’ annual food proceeds will now only have to be a minimum of 40 percent.
That means a maximum of 60 percent can be in alcohol sales in the downtown district, and that is good news for some business owners.
The city began mulling the change when co-owners of Reformation Brewery expressed to some city leaders their worries about being able to meet the city’s former 60 percent food requirement.
Spencer Nix, one of the owners of the brewery, said Friday he welcomed the change.
“It’s a good step in the right direction for bringing sustainable businesses in downtown Canton,” he said.
The brewery, Nix added, is regulated by recent state laws, which dictate that breweries statewide must meet the minimum 50 percent for food sales.
The brewery will be operated in a building on North Street.
Canton Mayor Gene Hobgood said the change gives the city a “leg up” when it comes to economic development.
“I think it’s an incentive for other restaurants to locate downtown,” he said.
Nix said while Canton’s change removes a big hurdle for them, he noted they still have to contend with complying with state and federal regulations.
Nix said he and his partners hope to be open by the first quarter of 2013.
Zach Kell, a member of the Canton Downtown Development Authority and owner of Goin’ Coastal and Downtown Kitchen, also praised the city for pushing the change through.
Kell said while his two restaurants aren’t “heavy” on the alcohol side, he noted “not every business model” is like his.
The restaurateur said it’s “a struggle” for some business to meet the food requirement if their alcohol sales tend to run higher.
“I believe they should be encouraged to do business in the city,” he added.
The downtown district is defined as East Main Street from John T. Pettit Street to North St.; North Street and along Waleska Street to Railroad Street.; Railroad Street to West Marietta Street.; West Marietta Street to John T. Pettit Street; John T. Pettit Street to East Main Street.
The Canton City Council also:
* Heard from John Rust, who questioned the city’s policy on no responsibility for issues on the customer side of the water meter;
* Approved directing City Manager Scott Wood to begin negotiations with Utility Partners for a new water and waste water operations contract;
* Approved deleting prohibitions on knives in city parks;
* Directed Wood to seek proposals for design services to create a master plan at Heritage Park and
* Approved a resolution denouncing the proposed TSPLOST referendum for the Atlanta region.