Seven restaurants already have obtained beer and wine licenses, and they began pouring two Sundays ago. The judge's order won't stop alcohol sales at those restaurants.
That in itself is a victory for the city, Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer said.
"We won the first round," Oberholtzer said. "We're still serving."
Stepp had requested the temporary restraining order last week. In the 14-page complaint, Stepp argued the City Council acted unlawfully Dec. 14 when it amended its liquor laws by a council vote rather than referendum. If he prevails, he contends the licenses already issued would become "null and void."
City Attorney Mike Williams has said the Snellville City Council was on firm legal ground to make the decision without a referendum. And Oberholtzer notes that another referendum would cost $10,000 for a city already reeling from a $1.1 million budget shortfall.
"We feel like we're going to prevail because the law is on our side," Oberholtzer said. "But it's disappointing because it's going to cost taxpayers more money."
"Nothing goes smoothly in Snellville," he said.