Brownwood City Council members tabled a request Tuesday for a variance that would allow a con-venience store located near the Brownwood school district administration building and guidance center to sell alcoholic beverages.
Steve Fryar requested the variance for the sale of beer and/or wine at the Food Plaza store at 2800 Southside. The store’s property line is 111 feet from the BISD property line, according to an agenda item briefing sheet by City Manager Bobby Rountree.
City ordinance prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages if the business is within 300 feet of a church, public or private school or public hospital.
The council, according to city ordinance, may grant a variance for several reasons. Those reasons include determining that enforcing the prohibition creates a hardship on the applicant and that the variance is in the best interest of the community.
Fryar asked how the 7-Eleven store (formerly Skinny’s) at Fourth and Indian Creek can sell beer and wine considering its proximity to Woodland Heights Elementary School.
After voters approved the sale of alcoholic beverages in south Brownwood in 2004, a city ordinance prohibited sales if the front door of a store was within 300 feet of a church, school or hospital. The Skinny’s store front door is 983 feet from the front door of the school's main building, Rountree's briefing sheet states.
In 2005, the council amended the ordinance to measure the 300 feet from property line to property line when a school is involved.
Brownwood City Manager Bobby Rountree said the 7-Eleven store would not be allowed to sell alcoholic beverages if the business had requested a permit under the property line measurement. The business is grandfathered and thus is allowed to sell based on the front door measurement, Rountree said.
“The only thing we ask for is fairness from the city council,” Fryar told council members before they voted. Fryar said the inability to sell alcoholic beverages from the Food Plaza store harms him financially because competing businesses can sell alcohol.
Rountree, who recommended against approving the variance, said city staff “can’t find a compelling reason” to grant it.
Councilman Dave Fair said he is troubled that “one can and one can’t (sell alcohol) simply because of action that was taken at one point in time.”
In other business, council members approved an ordinance on second and third readings to name an alley between Gifford and Beaver streets Sarah Gomez Lane, in honor of the matriarch of the family who owns the Gomez Restaurant.
Council members also approved an ordinance on second and third readings for a stop sign entering Beaver Street from Sarah Gomez Lane.