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Liquor near St. Augustine churches has a shot

Reported by: Jamie Smith
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Updated: 6/11/2013 1:02 am

S. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- St. Augustine City Council took another step toward allowing alcohol sales near churches. Council voted 4-1 Monday night to consider an amendment to the city's decades old law prohibiting alcohol sales within 100 feet of any church.


The amendment would permit businesses to serve alcoholic beverages if they derive more than half of their yearly income from food. There was a first reading Monday.


City Council decided to allow a public hearing on the measure at its next meeting June 24.   

Council members say they have not heard any objections yet from churches about the proposed amendment.


The Kookaburra coffee house, located only 63 feet from the Cathedral Basilica, opened last year. Its owners hope they'll soon be permitted to add wine and craft beers to the menu.


Spencer Hooker, co-owner of the business said, "We'd love to see the city review this ordinance and whether it should be in place at all or whether it should be revised to foster a better business environment in the downtown area."


Mark Knight, St. Augustine city planner, seemed to agree.


"One of the things that's positive for that area is restaurants, and restaurants are more viable if they serve alcohol," he said.

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