By BRIAN SMITH
The Weatherford City Council Tuesday night gave a Weatherford convenience store located near a church the go-ahead on selling alcohol.
The city council approved an exception to a separation requirement for alcoholic beverage sales in a 3-2 vote Tuesday night.
Moe’s Mini Mart, at 1125 Palo Pinto St., petitioned the city for an exception, despite being 218 feet from the front door of New Hope Baptist Church. The council reviewed a similar request from the business in January 2012 with Mayor Dennis Hooks asking for an exception at that time and the motion dying for lack of a second.
Hooks again made the motion for the exception Tuesday and received a second from Jeff Robinson. Mayor Pro Tem Craig Swancy and council member Heidi Wilder voted against the exception, with Waymon Hamilton in support.
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code allows cities to enact regulations prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages by business is within 300 feet of a church, public or private school, or public hospital. The city’s municipal code states “the measurement of the distance between the place of business where alcoholic beverages are sold and a church or public hospital shall be along the property line of the street fronts and from front door to front door, and in a direct line across intersections.”
The current distance between the front doors of the two businesses is 218 feet. Much of the dissension between the two entities is between what exactly is the front door. Jeff Brazzell with the church said most church members come in a side door on Oak Street, which is considered the church’s “front door,” even though the church’s mailbox and address are on Bowie Street.
Quoted in a staff report, the case of Stubbs v. Liquor Control Board stated that “any door leading into the church or saloon is a front door; in other words, it is held that a church or saloon may have several front doors and may face two or more streets.”