Tyler City Council tables alcohol zoning ordinance - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Tyler City Council tables alcohol zoning ordinance

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Several Tyler businesses will have to wait before they will learn whether or not they will be allowed to sell alcohol.

Sam's Club, Super Mercado Monterrey and Cefco convenience store asked the city council to consider approving special use permits to grant a variance on the alcohol ordinance so they would be allowed to sell beer and wine.

Currently, the ordinance requires a distance of 300 feet separation from the front door of the building with beer and wine sales to the front door of a public school or church.

Super Mercado and Cefco attorneys attended Wednesday's meeting asking for an appeal after the Planning and Zoning board members denied their requests to sell alcohol because of Super Mercado's proximity to a school and Cefco's relation to the First United Pentecostal Church of Tyler.

Cefco asked the council to approve a special use permit to reduce the required 300 feet distance separation to 150 feet so they could sell beer and wine at their location.

Attorney Kyle Hill is representing Cefco. On Wednesday, Hill told council members the ordinance had caused an undo hardship on the business.

"It's going to close if they're not going to get this variance and TABC permit," Hill told the council.

Heather Nick with Planning and Zoning said Cefco did receive opposition from the church, but that is not holding the business back from appealing the denial from the Planning and Zoning Commission. 

Attorneys for Super Mercado and Sam's Club said they have not received any opposition to their requests for a special permit.

Super Mercado Manager Mike Inurrigarro said the grocery store offers a lot of specialty items that their competitors do not have. However, at this point their competitors do have an advantage with the ability to sell alcohol.

The headmaster for All Saints School in Tyler said Sam's Club has been a good neighbor and they will remain neutral in the matter.

Several city council members voiced concerns about voting on the variances today. The council voted unanimously to table the discussion.

District Five Council Member Mark Whatley said they need time to look at the ordinances and consider amending them.

"Again, you can't be more restrictive than the state alcohol laws say you can be, but you can go back in and take into consideration things like distance between buildings, distance between front doors, size of the buildings, fencing. There's any number of things, barriers, that we could look at and consider," Whatley said.

Whatley said he hopes they can come to a conclusion quickly.

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