City approves changes to alcoholic beverage laws

Changes have been made to the City of Borger’s alcoholic beverage laws.During its regular meeting Tuesday, the Borger City Council approved an ordinance amending the City of Borger Code of Ordinance, Article 4.02, Alcoholic Beverages. The ordinance was introduced by the council at its last regular meeting earlier this month.The change was prompted by a request from a new business coming to town. City Manager Eddie Edwards said CVS is building a new pharmacy at the intersection of Third and Cedar. It regularly sells beer and wine as part of its in-store inventory.Mr. Thoung Ngo of the Gerald Franklin Agency is representing CVS in the state and local alcoholic beverage permitting process. He contacted the City of Borger Planning and Zoning Department last month about getting a permit application for the off-premises sales of beer and wine.After review, Edwards said he found out that even though that location was once authorized for the sale of on-premises consumption of alcoholic beverages back in 1979, a change in state law and the City of Borger’s code of ordinances would not have allowed such a permit to be issued at this point.In 1983, the 68th Legislature changed the method of measurement between the place of business where alcoholic beverages are sold and a public school to the following:Previous to 9/1/1983 – along property lines of the street fronts and from front door to front door, and in direct line across intersections. Under this method, the distance is approximately 1,600 feet.After 9/1/1983 – in a direct line from the property line of the public school to the property line of the place of business, and in a direct line across intersections. Under this method this distance is 210 feet.The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code provides guidelines for city regulation of alcoholic beverages. Edwards said that when city staff went in to review the city’s code, it found that there were several requirements in their current form that are in conflict with state law.One section of the code extended the prohibition of the sale of intoxicating liquor, beer, or wine from 300 to 1,000 feet of a public school upon receipt of a request from the board of trustees under the Education Code.However, the Education Code also has a requirement that the city has to have a population of 900,000 or more before a request by petition can be made by a public school.The new ordinance will remove the wording that is currently in conflict with state law. It does not alter the 300 foot restriction or change any of the other restrictions or prohibitions that are not in conflict with state law.However, Edwards said it does make the variance portion of state law available that would allow the city council on a case-by-case basis to grant any business a variance under appropriate circumstances.He said the adoption of these ordinance amendments will not automatically allow CVS to obtain an off-premises permit for the sale of alcoholic beverages. CVS will likely make a formal request for a variance to the distance requirements in the near future.Council members attending the meeting were Charles Gillingham, Bubba Dickson, Mayor Pro-Tem Robert Vinyard, and Mayor Jeff Brain.