8-0 new alcohol zoning amendments head to city council - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/4/09

8-0 new alcohol zoning amendments head to city council

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By Ann Wyatt Little  - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Since packaged alcohol sales passed in last month's election, where in Lubbock will it be sold? That's what was on the city's Planning and Zoning Commission's agenda Thursday to hold public hearing and take action on zoning codes related to alcohol sales. 

In an 8 to 0 vote, the Planning and Zoning Commission approved the amendments presented to them by city staff. The request for changes to current ordinances came as a result of the temporary restraining order filed by Pinkie's and Majestic Liquor Stores. City staff says favorable discussions have taken place all in hopes of reaching an agreement outside the courts hands.

"We have been working with representatives of the industry and legal staff to try to pound out an ordinance with state law and give citizens highest degree of regulation," says Director of Planning Randy Henson. Pinkie's and Majestic Liquor stores biggest issue with the current zoning codes is that they do not treat stores with liquor permits and stores without liquor permits equally.

The issues were in the C-2 and C-3 zones that new amendments addressed. Henson defines a C-2 zone as a general retail store. If there is a grocery store in C-2, its square footage is limited to 35,000 square feet. Under the new proposal the store may only use 25 percent of their space for alcohol sales. Twenty five percent would be 8,750 square feet which is the number set aside that can be used for alcohol sales in C-2 zones.

A C-3 zone is a shopping center with an anchor, or a bigger store. "An unlimited size for those stores that sell alcohol and give the same playing field or level the playing field to a beverage store, a grocery store or K-mart, Target or Wal-Mart," says Henson.

Mayor Tom Martin says regardless of what the council decides there's nothing stopping anyone from filing a lawsuit. "Whatever the council decides still could be challenged by this group of plaintiffs or any other group of plaintiffs. Hate to say it but, it's almost a never ending battle because anyone who feels a grief can go pay their few dollars to file a suit. There is no magic bullet," says Mayor Martin.

Henson says he hopes this issue can stay out of the courts hands, "having court case remain installed may lose local control all together if judge declares our ordinance invalid," adds Henson.

Nothing is official until the city council votes on it. The first reading will be at the next city council meeting June 23rd.

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