March 15, 2018, Council Work Session

Savannah City Government



March 15, 2018 – 1:00 p.m.

Present: Mayor Eddie DeLoach, Presiding

Aldermen: Carol Bell, Julian Miller, Brian Foster, Tony Thomas, Van Johnson, II, Bill Durrence, John Hall, Estella Shabazz (arrived at 1:30 p.m.)

Heath Lloyd, Chief Infrastructure and Development Officer, serving as Acting City Manager

Brooks Stillwell, City Attorney

William Shearouse, Assistant City Attorney

Jennifer Herman, Deputy City Attorney

Mayor DeLoach called the meeting to order.

Workshop Agenda Items
1. Old Town Trolley Tours Alcohol License Request

Charles Brazil, with Old Town Trolley Tours, introduced Harold Yellin, Attorney, and Dana Sinclair, Project Manager, to discuss Old Town Trolley Tours’ alcohol license request which would be on the agenda at the City Council meeting today. 

Harold Yellin spoke first and discussed that the petition was first on the agenda two weeks ago and there was some confusion about the petitioner’s intent that they wanted to clear up today in advance of the meeting.  The petitioner intends to have a package store that will be a component of a restaurant and a store; it is part of a larger complex.  The only products will be souvenir products, souvenir spirits.  The petitioner will be partnering with the Discovery Channel, who will be filming the development of this operation, including the development of the overall complex and museum.  Alderman Miller asked for a status update of the project.  Mr. Yellin reminded Council that at the last City Council meeting, Mayor DeLoach had asked for a two weeks continuance and they are taking this opportunity to explain the bigger project and it is now back on the City Council agenda for today.  Alderman Miller asked about parking for the complex.  Mr. Yellin said that there are thirty spaces on the site, there are additional spaces across the street at the Visitor Center, and that it is a destination for their trolley system.  Alderman Johnson said that the term “regional spirits” is interesting and asked if those can be consumed on the premises.  Mr. Yellin said that because it is a package store they cannot be consumed in the package store.  Alderman Durrence said that there will be a restaurant later in the complex where there will be a pour license. 

Dana Sinclair then spoke and introduced himself.  Mr. Sinclair said he is in the business of transportation and heritage based tours and history.  He said they have incorporated liquor into this particular attraction because it helps to tell the story at this particular attraction.  This building has sat vacant for a long time and based on national market data on distillery and the making of various liquors in America, they decided to focus on Southern spirits, incorporating an antebellum period restaurant, a Moonshine-themed bar, and a regional spirits package store/marketplace. They are having interesting conversations with regional spirits producers in Savannah and the greater southern region.  There is a large museum/interpretive component.  They will have a full-scale, non-operating copper still for interpretive purposes, plus a second story of special events space.  This will be a multi-component, multi-dimensional, interpretive facility.  Alderman Foster asked for clarification of what facility we were talking about and how much money the company was investing in it.  Mr. Sinclair and Mr. Brazil confirmed that this was the Old Town Trolley Tours facility on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard south of the Cultural Arts Center site and that they were planning on investing about $3 to 4.5 million.  They are not planning on changing the exterior façade of the building. 

Mayor DeLoach said that his concern was that in approving the petition as it is that they may be creating a loophole for a future owner to utilize the entire facility as a package store, rather than just a portion of it.  Alderman Durrence asked if a future owner wouldn’t have to apply for a new license.  Deputy City Attorney Jen Herman said a new use would require a new license, but within the same ownership it could be a transfer.  Mr. Yellin said that they could identify a specific space for the package store as part of this license request.  Ms. Herman and City Attorney Brooks Stillwell said that they would work with Mr. Yellin to identify language to restrict approval of the alcohol license to a specific space in advance of the City Council meeting this afternoon.

2. Executive Session: Litigation

Upon motion of Alderman Durrence, seconded by Alderman Miller, and unanimously carried Council went into Executive Session for the purpose of discussing Litigation.

Upon completion of this session, a motion was made to come out of Executive Session by Alderman Johnson, seconded by Alderman Shabazz, and unanimously carried.

3. City Manager’s Briefing / Council Meeting Agenda Items for March 15, 2018

Chief Infrastructure and Development Officer Health Lloyd, serving as Acting City Manager, presented the City Manager’s Briefing of the agenda items for the Council Meeting of March 15, 2018.  The agenda can be found online and will be made a part of the permanent record.

There being no further business, Mayor DeLoach declared this Work Session adjourned.

Luciana M. Spracher, Acting Clerk of Council
Agenda Plus