Frisco’s Planning and Zoning Commission with a 3-2 vote recommended to the Frisco City Council that distance separation requirements for alcoholic beverage sales be removed from the city’s zoning ordinance.
Planning Manager Anthony Satarino said the City Council had called a public hearing on the item in October.
The distance requirements, which Development Services Director John Lettelleir said have been in place since 2002, currently prohibit establishments including restaurants that sell alcoholic beverages, breweries and wineries from operating within a certain distance from entities like churches, schools or public hospitals. Satarino said the City Council was interested in the proposed changes because it had approved multiple exceptions to the rules in recent years, and there had been no known issues as a result.
Before the meeting, the city reached out to various entities to gauge their opinion. Satarino said multiple responses came with questions and concerns including that the amendment would allow for liquor stores.
“To make that clear, that is not the case with these proposed amendments,” he said. “These proposed amendments have nothing to do with the provision of liquor stores in the city of Frisco.”
Satarino added that the proposed amendment would not remove the requirement for specific use permits in certain zoning districts for establishments like private clubs, breweries and wineries. City documentation regarding the proposed change states that particular alcoholic beverage sales uses would still require that proper zoning requirements apply based on the city’s land use chart.
“For example, if a property adjacent to a public school is zoned residential, a convenience store selling alcohol could not operate adjacent to the school, as the zoning does not permit the use,” a city memo stated.
An email from Asad Rahman, a representative of the Islamic Center of Frisco, stated that a growing group of Frisco’s religious organizations were concerned about the proposed changes.
“Our faith explicitly prohibits the consumption of and any transactions related to alcohol,” the Rahman stated. “Establishments directly engaged in the sale of alcohol would be hurtful to our community's religious sentiment.”
While Chairman Rob Cox did not vote on the item, he did share his thoughts.
“I think there are enough safeguards in our ordinance and so forth that this may be an archaic way of managing that may not be needed anymore,” he said.
Commissioners Steve Cone, Brittany Colberg and David Box voted in favor of the recommendation. Commissioners Edward Kelly and Bryan Morgan voted against, saying the public would not like the changes.
“I feel comfortable that (with City Council members) being the elected officials, if they’re looking into this and seeing this is something that they want changes, they know the parameters,” Colberg said, “and I think it’s safe to throw it back in their court.”