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|Council delays action on alcohol, church issue|
Faith Tabernacle Church members will have to wait another month before the Monroe City Council determines whether they have to move from their current location on Auburn Avenue.
During Tuesday's regular city council meeting, councilmen decided to put off the matter until the first meeting in May.
Councilmen said the delay would give them time to review a proposed new alcohol ordinance that would remedy the situation and allow Faith Tabernacle to remain at its Auburn Avenue facility.
Earlier this month, the city council voted down a proposal that would have allowed churches the option to locate near businesses that sell alcohol.
Faith Tabernacle Church wants to use a facility on Auburn Avenue, which is located near several nightclubs. The city's Planning and Zoning Commission denied the church's request, but members are currently using the Auburn Avenue location as a place of worship.
Auburn Avenue is located in an area zoned for alcohol sales. The city typically denies churches permits to locate near businesses that sell alcohol, but after the church had already moved into its new location, it approached the city to find a solution so it could remain there.
City attorney Nanci Summersgill said her first proposal would have fixed the problem. She asked the city council to amend the city code to allow churches the option to locate near bars, restaurants and other establishments with a liquor license. The current zoning ordinance prohibits churches and establishments that sell alcohol from locating within 300 feet of one another.
Summersgill said the city's current ordinance initially was put in place to protect churches, but today she says it is more of a hindrance to them since it limits their options to locate within the city.
The council unanimously voted down Summersgill initial proposal because it did not include a waiver clause.
Another ordinance was introduced Tuesday that would allow a "church, synagogue or other place of worship the right to waive" the 300-feet distance requirement. If passed by the council, the waiver would be irrevocable as long as the facility is used as a place of worship, the ordinance states.