Savannah City Council to vote again on The Stage on Bay liquor license

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Thursday's Savannah City Council meeting is likely to see some fireworks as the aldermen and the public once again join in the debate over whether to issue a liquor license to The Stage on Bay.

Last month, the council denied the license to the concert venue sighting concerns from the neighborhood. Savannah City Council chose to reconsider this liquor license only after The Stage on Bay lawyered up and sent notice on a major lawsuit against the city.

Most on council admitted what they were doing by denying the license violated the city ordinance, but insisted despite the law, it was the best decision they could make for those concerned there was simply too much booze along that stretch of West Savannah.

Tuesday afternoon, WTOC spoke with the attorney representing The Stage on Bay. He says the city has the chance to make things right, but will still have to answer for the decision it's already made.

"If city council does what you're calling the right thing here and issues that liquor license to your client, there are still damages here, right?" asked WTOC.

"There absolutely are still damages and those damages have to do with those six weeks that he has not been able to operate. Everyone seems to acknowledge at this point that the decision by the city council previously was unlawful. They've even been told that by their own lawyer," said Will Claiborne, attorney for The Stage on Bay.

Those damages he says would total around $150,000.  Claiborne has already drawn up a draft of the lawsuit he plans to file if the city still refuses to issue The Stage on Bay that liquor license.  That lawsuit asks for more than $6 million.

We will be at Thursday's city council meeting where the aldermen may give the public a chance once again to voice their concerns about the license in a part of town already inundated with businesses that sell alcohol.

After months of construction, The Stage on Bay was set to open on February 3 but Savannah's City Council voted 8-1 to deny granting the venue an alcohol license the day before.

In city council's last session, council members voted to reconsider the license. Council members will vote again on the license in Thursday's meeting.

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