F’ville could eliminate distance barriers between churches, alcohol

The Fayetteville City Council Aug. 5 heard the first reading of a proposal that would do away with the distance restriction in shopping centers and on the Old Courthouse Square that separates churches from businesses serving alcohol. The second reading and vote will occur at the council’s Aug. 19 meeting.

City staff is proposing an amendment to the alcohol ordinance changing the distance requirement between shopping centers, commercial properties located on the Old Courthouse Square and churches. The ordinance currently states that businesses serving alcohol must be at least 100 yards from a church.

“We have noticed a trend lately where temporary church facilities are locating in (shopping) centers, thereby restricting the allowed use of those commercial centers by retailers of alcoholic beverages,” city staff said. “The proposed amendment would exempt businesses within (shopping) centers and commercial properties located on the Old Courthouse Square from the 100-yard distance limitation from church facilities.”

As it stands currently, and as it applies to shopping centers and to the south and west sides of Old Courthouse Square, a business already located within 100 yards of a storefront that becomes occupied by a church would be grandfathered, but a business that wants to move in where a church is already operating in an existing store front less than 100 yards away would not be allowed to do so.