SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - An item on the agenda at Savannah City Council got a lot of discussion in the community leading up to the meeting, but barely any while actually in the regular meeting.
City staff recommended changes to licensing and regulation of a tourism business. Those that use quadricycles, such as Savannah Slow Ride, would be prohibited from drinking alcohol while riding on the vehicle.
Thursday’s discussion, or lack thereof, was just a first reader, which doesn’t require any action or discussion, but the debate over quadricycle restrictions and boundaries isn’t over. In fact, it’ll be back in front of Savannah City Council for a vote at the next meeting. That that didn’t stop advocates for the tourism business from coming out to show their support, including an attorney representing the industry here in town.
“This issue about banning alcohol came up two years ago," said Patrick Connell, Savannah Slow Ride and Pedal Pubs. "We had the same conversation. As a result of it, I was engaged for two years, and we came up with a solution. Again, it’s been sitting there over a year, and it hanged the boundaries, and it gets quadricycles out of the residential areas. Council didn’t do anything with it. We’ve never had a citation or a judgment that’s been upheld for a littering issue - ever. We’ve never had an alcohol-related infraction that has been upheld in a court of law. There’s been no judgment against us of any criminal action related to alcohol - ever.”
Alderman Bill Durrence, whose district covers the quadricycle routes, says that delay is frustrating, but he says there’s a reason potential revisions like the ones being proposed take time to draw up. He says it’s more the behavior of the patrons of the businesses that concern him. He added that he’d be willing to compromise.
“Right now, Charlton Street is being suggested as the southern boundary. If you go past Oglethorpe Street, you’re in residential neighborhoods, so if we create a southern boundary at Oglethorpe Street, I’m happy to just put the alcohol provision on hold, but it has to take all of this activity outside the residential neighborhoods," Alderman Durrence said. “The southern boundary is actually a better solution for the residents. It doesn’t solve the problem of the obnoxious behavior that happens and gives the city a black eye with the visitors in the Broughton Street area, or around Ellis Square where we’re getting a lot of that bad behavior, but it’s probably a more realistic solution for the resident part of the frustration with this activity.”
The measure will be back in front of council in two weeks. WTOC will continue to keep you updated.