Alcohol permit requests roll in - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Alcohol permit requests roll in

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SMITH COUNTY (TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH) - Permits for beer and wine sales in the city limits and Justice of the Peace Precinct 2 are trickling in as businesses prepare to stock their shelves.

Permitting for beer and wine sales is expected to take between 45 and 60 days after the votes were canvassed -- Nov. 16 for the county and Nov. 19 for the city -- Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission Regional Licensing Supervisor Loretta Green said.

The city, county, TABC and state comptroller must sign off on applications during the multi-step permitting process.

City spokeswoman Susan Guth-rie said the city received 39 applications for beer and wine permits as of Thursday. Five of the permits have been reviewed by city planners with regard to each location's distance from churches and schools, she said.

One business at Broadway Avenue and Houston Street was rejected because of its proximity to St. Gregory Cathedral School. She said the business may apply for a variance. Mrs. Guthrie said she expected more retail locations to be rejected based on their proximity to churches and schools.

Mrs. Guthrie said 100 businesses were expected to apply for permits within the city.

County Clerk Karen Phillips said seven businesses have applied for sales permits in Justice of the Peace Precinct 2, which includes unincorporated areas surrounding southern Tyler, Flint, Noonday and Bullard. She said county officials have not taken any action on the permits and plan to meet with Ms. Green from TABC and officials from other municipalities today to discuss the process and state laws.

Mrs. Phillips estimates there are about 30 businesses interested in applications. The 911 call center is working to produce an accurate street-by-street map for use in the verification process, but precinct lines can be accessed using SmithCountyMapsite.org.

Ben Wozniac, a category manager for CEFCO Convenience Stores, which owns 12 locations in Tyler and Justice of the Peace Precinct 2, said the company is preparing to begin beer sales once permits are granted. Wozniac said the company is moving methodically because it has been through the process around the state.

Temporary coolers are expected to be placed at locations once permits are "in hand" but more planning is expected for any improvements or expansion to stores, he said.

"We have a plan. The most immediate will make sure customers have beverages available when we have the permits, but until we are sure, there is no issue. We won't go to architects or focus on capital improvements," he said.

Wozniac said the company is sensitive to community concerns and is focused on "being a good neighbor" with beer and wine sales. He said he expects a few locations will not meet distance requirements to sell alcohol but said such instances are not a concern because they are in the community's best interest.

"Like any responsible business owner, we are being pro-active," he said. "At the same time, as a retailer, we are part of community and are moving cautiously within the city and county permitting process."
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