Arlington toughens limits on booze

01/21/2014 9:27 PM

01/21/2014 9:27 PM

The City Council unanimously approved an ordinance Tuesday that sets a local distance between package liquor stores and churches, schools and hospitals that’s triple the distance required by state law.

The ordinance prevents package liquor from being sold within 300 feet of churches, hospitals, day-care centers, and public and private schools.

On Nov. 5, Arlington voters overwhelmingly approved allowing package liquor stores in the city for the first time.

The council also voted to prohibit the possession of open containers and the consumption of alcohol on public streets, alleys and sidewalks within 1,000 feet of homeless shelters and substance-abuse centers.

State law requires only a 100-foot setback, but Mayor Robert Cluck said that wasn’t far enough.

“We need to keep [liquor] as far away as we can from populations that are vulnerable to the effects and temptations of alcohol,” Cluck said.

All nine council members were present for the vote.

Since the city started accepting applications for package liquor sales Nov. 19, it has received nine store applications, city spokeswoman Sana Syed said.

The city secretary’s office signed off on two applications, three are still being considered, and four were denied because they didn’t conform to zoning, Syed said.

Package liquor stores can open in areas zoned for business, light industrial and industrial manufacturing, such as along Division Street and near main highways, including east of Texas 360 and along parts of Interstate 20.

Restaurants within 1,000 feet of homeless shelters and substance-abuse treatment centers can sell liquor on their property, and the open-container rule doesn’t apply to downtown Arlington.

Those found in violation of the ordinance can be fined up to $500.

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

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