If a restaurant or bar opens within the 500-foot zone after a church opts out of the established zoning ordinance, the business may still serve alcohol, according to Mayor Wesley Meiss.

.embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }

MILTON — An ordinance providing exemptions for alcohol sales or consumption near or on church property passed its first reading Tuesday evening during a Milton City Council special convened meeting. Councilwomen Sharon Holley and Pat Lunsford voted against the measure.

“It has been made clear to all of us that St. Rose of Lima (Catholic Church) is not interested in selling alcoholic beverages,” City Attorney Heather Lindsay said at the start of discussion on the ordinance. “They were simply concerned whether the zoning restriction would prohibit them from it being served at events that were approved by their ministry.”

Before voting, Holley asked if the ordinance had to do with consumption only.

The ordinance applies to both sale and consumption, Lindsay said.

Once a church opts out of the current zoning restrictions, which currently do not allow a bar or tavern to operate within 500 feet of a house of worship, such a business would be able to sell alcohol, according to Milton City Planner Randy Jorgenson.

If a restaurant or bar opens within the 500-foot zone after a church opts out of the established zoning ordinance, the business may serve alcohol, according to Mayor Wesley Meiss.

“They’ve established a vested interest and it would be a de facto taking,” Jorgenson said.

“So with the correct zoning, they could open a restaurant and bar within 500 feet,” Holley said.

“The answer to your question is yes,” Jorgenson said.

Council members will have to approve the ordinance’s second reading Oct. 10 before it goes into effect.