Ordinance change could leave Ft. Payne store high and dry - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Ordinance change could leave Ft. Payne store high and dry

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The Fort Payne Dollar General moved closer to a church. The Fort Payne Dollar General moved closer to a church.
FORT PAYNE, AL (WAFF) -

The Fort Payne city council has corrected wording in its alcohol ordinance after a business located next door to a church applied for an alcohol license.

Friday the council approved rewording a portion of the alcohol ordinance that would keep any business from selling alcohol within 200 feet of a school or a church.

The controversy developed when Dollar General moved to a new location and wanted to continue selling alcohol. It was then discovered that Minvale Baptist Church is located next to the new store.

The originally worded ordinance kept the 200 feet limit, but provided an exemption for businesses like the new Dollar General which are located in a commercially-zoned area.

Friday's change to the ordinance removes the language about exemptions. One city councilman says it's a balancing act getting revenue from alcohol sales while maintaining a family-friendly town.

"Over $1.2 million has come to the schools, but we still want to control our hometown atmosphere and what we're trying to build on tourism," said Councilman Johnny Eberhart.

City officials say they have requested that Dollar General rescind its application for a liquor license. If the store denies the request, the city will then be legally required to honor the original ordiance.

Also on Friday's agenda: the council voted to move the alcohol and food sales percentage from a 50-50 split to 70-30.

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