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Huntsville set to change zoning laws to allow more liquor sales

WAAY 31 breaks down the complicated change to the zoning law and where in the city it would make an impact.

Posted: Oct. 19, 2018 10:17 PM
Updated: Oct. 19, 2018 10:29 PM

The City of Huntsville is trying to change a zoning ordinance that will allow liquor sales in certain parts of the city. This would impact Highway Business C-4 zoned districts and Heavy Industry Districts. The change would potentially allow big chain stores to start selling.

"I would definitely be more swayed to go to the big box retailer if they are at a slightly cheaper discount," said shopper Michael Adley.

Right now, big chains like Costco can't sell liquor because their property line has to be at least 500 feet away from residential housing, a church, school, or day care. The new zoning law would change the measuring line to the front door of businesses. Cutting out whole parking lots.

"This would impact off premise retailers only, so you have a variety of uses there. Your grocery stores typically have off premise retailer license. Your convenience stores and gas stations typically have that license," said Huntsville City Official, Ashley Nichols.

City leaders said this will update the zoning to modern times and the change could impact how business is done in the area.

Even though Adley would choose a cheaper option for buying liquor, he said he's not a fan of the change because it could hurt small business owners. "That's why it doesn't sound like it's a good thing to do. It would definitely hurt these smaller companies," said Adley.

One small business owner said they're going to fight this change because it could steal 10-15% of their sales. There will be a public hearing at the City Council meeting on November 15th where it could be voted into law.

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