Dothan city leaders reviewing new alcohol ordinance

Dothan City Commission discusses proposed changes to alcohol ordinance

DOTHAN, Ala. (WSFA) - Dothan city commissioners are reviewing a newly revised alcohol ordinance policy.

City commissioners have been reviewing the ordinance for the last year. Right now, the city measures buffer zones between a place that sells alcohol to a protected site, like a church or school, from door to door by way of public access. That buffer zone must be 600 feet.

Now, the city is looking at breaking down the ordinance buffer zone based on the type of establishment and looking at measuring from property line to property line.

“Property line to property line makes it a little more accurate and easier for us to do,” said Mayor Mark Saliba.

For establishments like bars and lounges, the buffer zone must be a minimum of 200 feet. For liquor stores, the buffer zone distance must be a minimum of 200 feet. For restaurants, the buffer zone distance must be 100 feet.

“Even though the numbers are going down, no one panic. It’s still restrictive and as conservative as it’s always been,” said Saliba.

The city conducted studies on alcohol ordinances in other cities across the state. City leaders say the new policy is a step in right direction to protect citizens, and also promote growth.

“Develop some strategy that still maintains the separation land issues from these critical land uses, but yet it’s fair to the economic development of the city,” said Todd McDonald from the department of Planning and Development.

Based on the new ordinance locations like CVS or Walgreens, where alcohol is not the main commodity sold at the location, won’t have the buffer zone restrictions.

Current locations that sell alcohol won’t fall under the new ordinance. The ordinance will also not impact establishment’s in Dothan’s Entertainment District downtown and shopping centers.

The city is set to vote on the issue at the next commission meeting.

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