WACO, TX (KXXV) -
may soon allow neighborhood grocery stores to sell beer and wine in certain zoning districts.
The city council approved this measure unanimously in first reading on Tuesday's meeting. It will need to vote on it again for it to become official.
The neighborhood grocery stores would open in office-residence districts (O2), which are located in the greater downtown and office-limited commercial districts (O3).
This ordinance defines a neighborhood grocery as a business that primarily food, non-alcoholic drinks and household items to be consumed off the premises.
This store cannot be larger than 20,000 square feet in area. In addition, 75 percent of its sales cannot come from selling beer and wine.
Anjum Alam tried opening a specialty food store before in the North Waco
neighborhood. However, he said the city denied his request at that time because the area would have needed to be rezoned.
"You can't survive on just specialty items. You need to bring a …bigger crowd.” said Alam. “In order to do that, you have to have products where people will come in to buy beer but definitely they wouldn't only buy beer, they will buy food items.”
Alam would like to sell specialty food items, such as Indian spices. In addition, he plans to sell specialty beer and wine.
He said people currently need to drive to Austin or Dallas to purchase these items because they are not sold in Waco
Alam said before the council drafted this ordinance, he planned to open a store in a smaller scale but this change may open up new possibilities.
People who attended the meeting did not talk in favor or in opposition of this ordinance on Tuesday’s public hearing.
The residents News Channel 25 talked to in the North Waco
neighborhood did not oppose the measure either.
“I think it would be OK. What is the difference having a store selling wine and beer one block closer versus going two blocks?” said Chante Johnson. “It can be a convenience for some people.” Waco
city spokesman Larry Holze said this would fill in a gap in developing areas that do not have grocery stores nearby, such as the greater downtown.
He said the council will have another public hearing on the subject before it takes its final vote.