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Monday February 24th, 2020 7:14AM

Hall County to extend hookah lounge moratorium

By Marc Eggers Anchor / Reporter

GAINESVILLE – Hall County commissioners plan to extend even further the moratorium on issuing business licenses for hookah lounges.  

Commissioners want to wait until the conclusion of the 2020 Georgia General Assembly to craft any regulation for Hall County businesses specializing in the sale of non-traditional tobacco products.

“We are recommending this extension so that we can see what happens during the state legislative session,” said Sarah McQuade, Director of Planning and Development for Hall County.

“We suspect that the state will probably look at non-traditional tobacco products during their session this year,” McQuade said.  “Rather than us doing something and then having to amend it based upon their decisions we’ll just be able to be in line with the state.”

Commissioners will vote on the extending the moratorium until May 29, 2020, on Thursday during their voting session.

KEEP BUILDING STANDARDS UNDER LOCAL CONTROL

Waiting for the state to determine policy and afterwards writing local code to comply with state law works well for hookah lounges, but not so when it comes to overseeing residential building design standards, that according to Hall County officials.

Hall County is taking a much-more pro-active position and voicing its opinion before state leaders assemble under the gold dome in Atlanta on January 13th.  The county wants state delegates to know with certainty that Hall County supports local control for building design standards, and would like the state to stay out of that discussion entirely.

Commissioners plan to vote Thursday on a resolution strongly supporting Locally-Established Building Design Standards.

McQuade said two pieces of legislation introduced during the 2019 General Assembly are the focus of the county’s desire to speak out early in opposition.  “During the 2019 state legislative session there were two different…bills, one House Bill, one Senate Bill that were introduced that would prohibit local governments for adopting any design standards on single-family homes, as well as duplexes.”

Those bills never made it to a vote (“died in session”) but likely will be resurrected in January.  Hall County leaders, as well as leaders in Gainesville and Flowery Branch, are actively resisting any loss of local determination on residential building standards.

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