A big issue for many East Texas voters are proposals that could allow alcohol sales in Tyler and Smith County Precinct 2, which includes Flint, Bullard, and Noonday.
Tyler's Planning and Zoning Commission met Tuesday to discuss what changes will be made to the city code if voters approve the alcohol proposals on the Tyler ballot.
"The citizens are very proud of the natural beauty of Tyler," said Tyler City Planner Heather Nick. "We want to make sure that we mitigate any effect from the passing of this proposition."
Nick presented three amendments to the city code at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting.
The first Unified Development Code amendment requested the Planning and Zoning Commission to consider recommending an ordinance to regulate beer and wine sales by:
Establishing certain distance restrictions on the sale of alcoholic beverages near a church, public or private school, public hospital, day-care center or child-care facility, providing for exceptions, and establishing a procedure for granting variances;
To prohibit the sale of beer in area that is zoned Residential or RPO;
That a local fee be levied for each permit issued by the State under the Alcoholic Beverage code within the city, as allowed by State law;
To require that the location that is the subject of a Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission permit must comply with the Unified Development Code, alcohol-related ordinances, and all other applicable ordinances, rules and regulations of the City;
To prohibit the possession of an open container or consumption of an alcoholic beverage on a public street, public alley, or public sidewalk, within 1,000 feet of the property line of a homeless shelter that is not located in a central business district or a substance abuse treatment center that is not located in a central business district;
To add references to State law restrictions on signs and banners related to sale of alcoholic beverages; and
To add references to State law restrictions on hours of operation for such businesses.
The second UDC amendment requested an ordinance to adopt zoning regulations to regulate drive-through service areas that allow for passage of motor vehicles and are used primarily for the retail sale or delivery of pre-packaged foods or beverages for off-premises consumption, if located in a M-2 zoning district and through issuance of a Special Use Permit. That ordinance will not affect current restaurant drive-through lanes.
The third amendment recommendation was an emergency item added to Tuesday's meeting. That amendment simply clarifies the city zone change application fee covers the review of zoning to clarify state distance requirements for alcohol sales.
All three amendments were approved.
"Once the election is certified, and it's legal, applicants are going to have to get our application, they are going to have to go to the city, and there are portions the city has to sign, the county, and then finally the county judge has to sign off on it," said Sgt. Marcus Stokke, of the enforcement division of the Longview office for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
Once businesses complete their application, the TABC checks to see if everything is legal and the business qualifies for a permit to sell alcohol. That process can take up to 40 days.
"We have it to where our processors will be all around the state of Texas," Stokke said. "If Tyler goes wet, and the applications come in, there may very well be a processor in San Antonio who is working on one of the applications."
Stokke says even though people in the "dry" area can't apply for a permit yet, that does not mean they don't have the paperwork all filled out and ready to go.
The Tyler City Council will vote on today's recommendations sometime between next Wednesday, Nov. 14and the following Monday, Nov. 19.
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