With two members in opposition, the Weatherford city council approved an exception for alcohol sales near a Weatherford ISD Ninth Grade Center property.

The applicant, who is interested in purchasing Sam’s Mini Mart at 901 S. Main St., requested a variance in the 300-foot requirement to sell alcohol near a school or church at Tuesday’s city council meeting.

“The proposed property owner has requested an exception to the district’s requirement from the [Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission]. So the distance from the adjacent school property, which is the WISD maintenance facility, from the property line to the front door is approximately 258 feet. The school district has provided a letter saying they’re not in opposition to the sale of alcohol from this particular facility,” Weatherford City Manager James Hotopp said. “It’s directly adjacent to [Roo Stadium], probably closer to the Taco Casa facility. No kids are in school at that facility, it’s just an extracurricular facility there that’s within that distance requirement.”

The applicant is interested in selling package beer and wine.

“I represent the applicant who is interested in purchasing the property. We ask that you grant a variance to the alcohol distance ordinance that the city of Weatherford has passed for this situation because it is within 300 feet of the property line of the maintenance facility, not the school nearby. Google Maps shows it to be 0.2 miles from the school, which is well over the 300 feet,” Ryan Hughes said. “The permit he is seeking is for off-premise consumption, so it’s not a bar, it’s just selling alcohol to go and we just ask that [the council] grant this variance so the business can operate and flourish. The applicant owns just under a dozen McDonald’s franchises as well as some other gas stations and I can tell you that he comes into these places and cleans them up.”

Place 1 Councilmember Heidi Wilder and Place 3 Councilmember Matt Ticzkus were opposed to the request.

“My concern is I drive down there quite a bit and children are in, around and everywhere, and I understand the cash flow issue, but my main thought is the children,” Wilder said. “I have concerns with that.”

Ticzkus added, “I understand the letter from the school district, I’m just not a fan of that so that’s where I stand on this issue.”

In the past, the Weatherford city council has granted two exceptions — Film Alley, which is less than 300 feet from Austin Elementary School, and another Sam’s Mini Mart, which is less than 300 feet from New Hope Baptist Church on Palo Pinto Street. The council has denied one request, which was planned to be a convenience store about 250 feet from North Main Church of God.

“The thing I would say is if this was a school facility that had kids in it, but this is adult workers that do maintenance, so I think we could find several places around town where churches and schools are closer than this property,” Place 2 Councilmember Jeff Robinson said. “Being that this is school-owned versus a school is a differentiating point. School-owned for the purpose of parking vehicles and equipment is not the same as a place where we have the education of kids going on.”

Place 4 Councilmember Kevin Cleveland made a motion to approve, which was seconded by Robinson. The exception was granted in a 3-2 vote with Wilder and Ticzkus voting against. 

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