Those looking for a night out in Forsyth County could soon have expanded options.
At a Forsyth County Board of Commissioners meeting Thursday, a public hearing was held on potential changes to the county’s alcohol code that would pave the way for drinking at certain businesses, mixed-use developments and beer festivals.
One change would exclude some businesses from current rules that require businesses with on-premises consumption licenses to make at least half their sales from food.
Rather than a traditional bar, the rule change is aimed to allow drinking at businesses such as art studios, golf courses, marinas and bowling alleys.
The idea came after the county decided not to move ahead with an art studio that would have allowed outside alcohol, commonly called BYOB.
Instead, the commission favored making county-wide changes to allow art studios to serve alcohol.
During the hearing, all public speakers were in favor of the changes, especially those for art studios.
“We have been received very positively in the community and would like to continue cultivating the cultural arts in our community,” said Bryan Smith of Anthony Gallery in Vickery Village.
For mixed-use developments, the change would allow drinking in developments zoned master planned district, or MPD, and planned unit development, or PUD.
“We would allow a one drink per person on street limit in the district, so you literally could walk around with your drink open in an area confined by the [zoning],” County Attorney Ken Jarrard said. “The consumption would be limited to those areas in the MPD that are not near churches, schools or parks and not, of course, on private property.”
If approved, drinks could only be carried in a cup up to 16 ounces — cans, glasses and bottles would not be allowed.
Another proposed change would make way for beer festivals in the county and require that they be held in areas with “controlled entry points.”
“If we’re going to talk about festivals, now you’re starting to talk about large crowds,” Jarrard said, “and so the notion was to in some special points of entry or exit where we could keep better control of people as they walk in and out.”
Another public hearing will be held on Oct. 6. Commissioners can vote on the changes at that time.
Also during Thursday’s meeting, commissioners approved changes to allow craft breweries or wineries — those that produce less than 20,000 barrels a year — to be built without a heavy industrial district, or M2, zoning.