Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

City sets alcohol variance hearing

The Clarendon City Council will hold a public hearing Tuesday, May 30, at 7 p.m. regarding an alcohol variance request by Allsup’s Convenience Stores.

According to a letter presented to the city on April 25, Allsup’s real estate holding company, High Five Capital, LP, is under contract to purchase property on US 287 to build a new 4,800 square foot store with 20 auto fueling stations and a separate four lane truck fueling station. The $2.6 million investment will cover 2.67 acres on the site of the old Hardin home now owned by Odima Investments.

Allsup’s plans to sell beer and wine in the new location, but the property is bordered by Third Street on the south, which puts it directly across from Bronco Stadium. According to city ordinance, alcohol cannot be sold on a property within 300 feet of the school.

At their regular meeting last Thursday, May 11, Clarendon aldermen approved an ordinance to establish a formal variance request procedure and then set the May 30 public hearing date.

In open comments, resident Chris Moore spoke against the variance request, citing concerns about the precedence it would set, the “hypocrisy” of having anti-drug and anti-alcohol programs at the school with alcohol across the street, safety issues with traffic coming over the hill to the new business, and the likelihood of a truck stop attracting “vagrants, drugs, [and] prostitution.”

“The proposed site is going to open a Pandora’s box for alcohol possibly being sold right beside a house of worship, school, etc.,” Moore said in a written statement. “It will make an unintentionally dangerous traffic area.”

In his variance request letter, Mark Allsup outlined his company’s position.

“Allsup’s has a long history of strict compliance with alcoholic beverage laws and is diligent with those practices and is thorough on training of store personnel,” Allsup wrote. “There have been several cases in cities where Allsup’s has requested a variance for similar purposes and has been granted such.

“I would say that there has not been any case where this has not been considered a good decision for all involved,” Allsup wrote.

In other city business, aldermen approved a citywide clean up June 5-10; canvassed the May election; administered the oath of office to Mayor Sandy Skelton and Aldermen Jacob Fangman and Nathan Floyd; and held a reception in honor of Alderman Doug Kidd, who chose not to run for reelection.

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