By John Schaffner

One of Atlanta’s best known chefs came before Neighborhood Planning Unit B seeking a license for a different type of business—a specialty wine store in Peachtree Battle Shopping Center named H & F Bottle Shop—on Nov. 2 and got caught up in a discussion on how to measure the acceptable distance of such a store from a school.

Linton Hopkins, owner of Restaurant Eugene, Hollman & Fitch restaurants and H & F Bakery in Buckhead, was seeking approval of a specialty wine store license. His lawyer pointed out that the store would be 680 feet from E. Rivers Elementary School, thus complying with city ordinances.

But Jeff Shell, NPU-B chair, questioned that claim of compliance with the law.

Shell said the law reads that such an establishment must be at least 600 feet from “property line to property line.”

Election of board members
NPU-B will hold its annual election for the business representatives to sit on its board of directors Nov. 16 from 5:30p.m. to 7 p.m. at the education building at Cathedral of Christ the King, 2699 Peachtree Road, N.E.
There are 12 board seats for business representatives up for election, and nominations are still being accepted. E-mail Bob Connelly at Businesses being represented must be within the boundaries of NPU-B.

Shell, who works in construction, said he believes that does not mean from the front of the proposed store within Peachtree Battle Shopping Center to the school, but from the property line of the shopping center to the property line of the school.

The school is directly across Peachtree Road from the front of the shopping center. However, the new wine store is planned to be located at the back of the shopping center, 680 feet from the school.

Shell acknowledged that the city ultimately can decide the case however it wishes. He pointed to the Standard Oil service station at the southern corner of the shopping center and directly across Peachtree Road from the elementary school. It sells beer and wine. The separation for such an establishment from a school is 1,500 feet, according to a city ordinance.

There also are restaurants within the Peachtree Battle Shopping Center that sell and serve beer, wine and spirits. If the city adhered to Shell’s interpretation of the measurement criteria, none of them would pass either the 680-foot or 1,500-foot requirement.

But, in reality, all of them have been granted licenses to sell or serve alcoholic beverages.

Shell said NPU had no jurisdiction to make a judgment on the matter, but simply warned Hopkins and his lawyers to be aware it could come up as an issue as they continue to pursue the license with the city.

As for the NPU-B Public Safety Committee and full board, they passed the license application and sent it on to the city’s License Review Board.

Meanwhile, the NPU also approved new license applications for a Walgreen’s at 3658 Roswell Road to sell beer and wine, and Zoe’s Kitchen restaurant at 3655 Roswell Road to sell beer and wine. It also approved change of agent and ownership applications for Anis Café & Bistro, 29794 Grandview Avenue; Chili’s Grill & Bar, 2420 Piedmont Road; and Gypsy Stag at 3188 Roswell Road.

The NPU’s Public Safety Committee also heard a complaint from Spencer Roane III, who lives in the Mathieson Exchange Lofts high-rise condo about loud party noises coming from the new Buckhead Saloon in Buckhead’s West Village area off of Roswell Road.

Roane said that in late October the Buckhead Saloon, formerly Rio Grande, had a special events permit for a party which had spilled out into the parking lot and was so loud it could be heard in all of the surrounding neighborhoods, including Roane’s, which is almost two blocks away.

Roane said he called the police and was told they could not do anything about it because the establishment had a special-events permit.

NPU-B board members told Roane that was not the case. The city has a noise ordinance and clubs are not exempt from the ordinance because they obtain a special-events permit.

Board member Sally Silver gave Roane the phone number for Zone 2 Atlanta Police commander Maj. Robert Browning and told Roane to call Browning directly.