Fort Worth focuses alcohol ordinance on downtown, surrounding areas

Posted Friday, May. 31, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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In a compromise with the school district and other stakeholders, Fort Worth officials have agreed to pare the scope of a proposed ordinance that would eliminate the 300-foot buffer between schools and businesses that sell alcohol in areas that have mixed-use zoning.

The ordinance change, scheduled for a City Council vote Tuesday, will now cover just downtown and mixed-use areas on the near south side, Trinity Uptown and the West 7th Urban Village. Nine schools would be affected. An earlier proposed ordinance would have covered mixed-use areas citywide.

Fort Worth schools had supported the change for downtown but wanted case-by-case review outside the central business district. District spokesman Clint Bond said Friday that the schools support the proposed ordinance as now written.

“We’re not going to fight that,” he said. “We really didn’t have a problem with downtown the last time.”

Dana Burghdoff, the city’s deputy planning and development director, said: “The school district was comfortable looking at the downtown and near-downtown areas given the higher intensity of the land uses that are to be expected there. They wanted more time to discuss other mixed-use areas outside of this downtown core area.”

Alcohol sales would be allowed within 300 feet of public and private schools and public hospitals in mixed-use zoning in the four areas. Elsewhere, businesses wanting to sell alcohol within that buffer in mixed-use zoning would have to seek a variance from the City Council.

The council had asked the staff for the ordinance change because it has typically granted variances in recent cases. The impending move of Fort Worth’s Young Women’s Leadership Academy to mixed-use zoning downtown from the same on West Magnolia Avenue was a new situation that prompted the review.

Mixed-use areas in Fort Worth include downtown, Trinity Uptown, the near south side, Camp Bowie Boulevard west of Interstate 30, Trinity Lakes in northeast Fort Worth, and the city’s various urban villages. Trinity Lakes is in the Hurst-Euless-Bedford school district. No H-E-B schools are affected.

A public school is defined as one going up through college, and a private school — according to the Texas alcoholic beverage code — is defined as kindergarten through 12th grade.

The affected Fort Worth school district campuses are Trimble Tech High School, 1003 W. Cannon Ave.; Van Zandt-Guinn Elementary School, 501 Missouri Ave.; and the Young Women’s Leadership Academy, new location on 401 E. Eighth St. downtown and old location on West Magnolia.

The affected private schools are Cassata Learning Center, 1400 Hemphill St., and Montessori at Sundance Square, 201 Jones St.

The affected colleges include the University of Texas at Arlington Fort Worth Center on Jones Street downtown; Tarrant County College downtown; and the University of North Texas Health Science Center on the west side.

Several public and private schools on Camp Bowie Boulevard and South Hemphill Street and near TCU would have been affected under the previously drafted ordinance.

Scott Nishimura, 817-390-7808 Twitter: @JScottNishimura

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