Kennesaw sets its sights on underage drinking at parties
by Noreen Cochran
December 17, 2012 11:31 PM | 15411 views | 2 2 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
KENNESAW — Funeral homes and house parties were on the radar of the city of Kennesaw at its City Council meeting Monday night.

By a 4-0 vote — Councilman Bill Thrash was absent due to illness — the council changed its alcoholic beverage law by adding a new “social host” section to hold homeowners responsible if teens are found drinking on premises.

Lt. Craig Graydon of the city police department said bars and convenience stores are not the biggest culprits in the fight against minors being served.

“Parties are our greatest problems with underage drinking,” he said.

During the ordinance’s public hearing, Cobb Alcohol Task force member Cathy Finck said the new law is needed to help police.

“Law enforcement can’t tell who furnishes alcohol to the minors,” she said. “Adopting the new ordinance allows law enforcement to charge the social host.”

Task force member Laura Searcy, a registered nurse and former member of the Cobb County school board, said health care professionals are alarmed.

“The youth brain is very vulnerable to binge drinking. It causes permanent, irreversible damage,” she said. “Anything we can do to push that first use older toward 21 is a positive thing for everyone.”

Another public hearing was preceded by City Planning and Zoning Administrator Darryl Simmons’ presentation of changes to the city’s Unified Development Code, which, in part, regulates the types of businesses allowed in the Central Business District.

While growler stores and massage therapy sailed through, the City Council balked at adding funeral homes to the list.

Bruce Seagrave of Kennesaw said he wanted to provide a return to intimate, private viewings in residence-like environments and add 10 jobs to the economy.

Mayor Pro-tem Cris Eaton-Welch said she had concerns about parking in the downtown area.

“It will be a strain for future businesses,” she said, adding her own nine-employee business, Eaton Chiropractic, struggles with space limitations.

Eddie Lummus of Winkenhofer Pine Ridge Funeral Home said Sandy Springs recently asked a funeral home to provide 80 parking spaces, compared to the 20 Seagrave proposed.

However, resident Rochelle Sweet said the business could coexist with neighboring retailers, restaurants and churches.

“Being in the Central Business District is not a foreign concept,” she said, citing funeral parlors in equivalent zones in cities like Acworth and Marietta.

Councilman Bruce Jenkins said the idea ran counter to the vision the City Council has for the district, making a substitute motion to keep funeral homes out.

The vote was 3-1 vote, with Jeff Duckett opposed.

“I voted against that motion because I think that funeral businesses should be allowed in the CBD,” he said after the meeting. “If a business owner thinks they can open and operate a funeral home within the guidelines we set for funeral homes, I think they should be able to do that. We shouldn’t be the ones to tell them if the business will work or not.”

In other actions, the city approved its consent agenda 4-0, which included loaning $300,000 to the Kennesaw Development Authority at 1.5 percent for 10 years to lease and develop David W. Collier’s Trackside property at 2844 S. Main St.

The authority will rent the property from Collier and sublet it at $3,000 a month to Michael Diamond of Sandy Springs-based Main Street Burger for a location of the all-natural BurgerFi franchise.

According to city documents, Diamond will invest at least $250,000 in interior work, furniture, fixtures and equipment, provide another $150,000 in operating capital, and create 25 to 35 jobs.
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VFP42
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December 18, 2012
Children are drinking in funeral homes? What is the world coming to? They finally figured out they can get REALLY high off embalming fluid, didn't they. The funeral industry is guilty once again, this time putting our children into the ground at such an early age. We must put a stop to this at any cost!

So, "Anything we can do to push that first use older toward 21 is a positive thing for everyone." If true, why do we have the youth binge drinking issues that other countries with low-to-no drinking ages seem to lack?

What if, instead, children were taught by their parents how to handle alcohol, like in the rest of the "civilized" world, and like everything else in life (except, ideally but this IS Georgia, for s3x)?

HEY there's a thought: Parental reponsibility. Parents, teaching their own children how to behave.

WHAT? That's the government's job! I am too busy to teach my child anything at all! When I get home and have a drink, the last thing I want is my dumb kid having a drink with me! Next thing you know, she'll get drunk and ask me to help with her homework! You think I know anything about English? Biology? Maths? History? Shoot No! This is GEORGIA! Why aren't you at cheerleading practice anyway? Don't you ever want to amount to anything?
Al Legal
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December 18, 2012
The city council will allow a nasty looking massage parlor next to the Southern Museum but not a funeral parlor in "historic downtown." It will loan money to its buddy at Trackside with no problem and will fund a skate park no one but them and the skate park developer want. Seems like the citizens of Ksaw could use some new buddies on council who have the citizens and not their own interests at heart.
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