Lubbock City Council approved alcohol sales by a convenience store near Alderson Academy last week. The move might not seem so strange except other convenience stores within 300 feet of schools have been told 'no.'
Alderson is not open this year but will be utilized as an elementary school next year. Prior to the 4-3 in favor of alcohol sales, Council was told that, "Alderson is expected to have approximately 750 students attending that school starting with the 2013-2014 school year."
The 7-Eleven store at 2524 Parkway is 190 feet from Alderson.
Other stores have been allowed to sell alcohol near a school. For example, Market Street has a variance from the City Council to sell alcohol less than 300 feet from Monterey High School.
But up until now, Council has only allowed so-called "big box" stores, not convenience stores, to have such a variance. This particular 7-Eleven had asked the Council for a variance once before but was told 'no.' But this time the answer was yes.
Does last week's vote open Pandora's box for other convenience stores to operate near Lubbock ISD schools?
"It does create a possibility," says City Councilman Todd Klein. "I voted against it both times."
Klein goes on to say, "It represents a slippage away from the LISD policy that was big box versus smaller store policy."
"It's really about discretion," Klein says. Alcohol is "more pronounced" in a small convenience store and it creates a different atmosphere as compared to a large retailer, according to Klein.
Lubbock ISD says in a written statement says the school system is against consideration of variances for convenience stores where a large percentage of their sales come from the sale of wine and beer
"We understand and respect that this decision rests solely on the City Council," says LISD. "Further, we ask that 7-11 act responsibly..."
We were not able to reach Mayor Tom Martin by phone on Sunday. Klein, Martin and Councilman Paul R. Beane voted against the 7-Eleven alcohol variance.
Look for an update Monday on KCBD.com as we continue trying to get comments from local officials.
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