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Retail alcohol permit approved for pharmacy; zoning request introduced

BY ELONA WESTON
LEESVILLE -- The Leesville City Council on Monday signed off on a Class "B" Package Store retail alcoholic beverage permit for CVS Pharmacy.

The permit is for packaged, off-premise consumption only. The pharmacy is located at 100 East Fertitta Boulevard.

CVS first sought the permit in April. It was tabled for weeks amid questions over the state law that governs buffers between establishments, churches and schools.

The city's ordinance, which covers both low content and high content alcohol, mirrors state law, which calls for a 300-foot buffer zone near churches, schools, day cares, playgrounds and public libraries. Distances, under state law, are measured from property line to property line.

A church, Knowledge of the Word Ministries, at 202 East Fertitta Boulevard, is within 300-feet of the store.

The council has since revised its ordinance in a way that Mayor Rick Allen says doesn't stifle businesses but safeguards against a bar locating beside a church or school.

"I feel like we have an ordinance now that benefits the city," Allen said. "And the council agrees on it."

Allen said the city's revamped guidelines requires larger square footage of the establishments selling alcohol. The ordinance retains a 300-foot distance requirement from churches, libraries and schools but provides for an exception for a retail drug store/pharmacy, "if it has a public habitable floor area of no less than 3,000 square feet and the retail drug store/pharmacy derives less than 15 percent of its gross sales from the sale of alcoholic beverages."

The council on Monday also introduced a measure pertaining to a rezoning request from CVS Pharmacy. The store is eyeing property to relocate near the First United Pentecostal Church of Leesville.

"CVS will be moving from the location where they are at -- possibly -- to another location which is by another church, but it's kind of hard to move in Leesville without being by a church," Allen quipped.
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