A fine line for the wine?

Rocker’s mailbox was full this delivery day. Thanks for the mentions. This message volume verifies our code that if you can’t say something good about someone, call or write us.

A couple of interesting pieces of communication asked how it is possible for a business to sell alcoholic beverages in very close proximity to a church. Rocker is no attorney, but we did spend the night next to one in a mental ward so the answer was traceable.

Louisiana law prohibits issuing a permit for alcohol sales when a premises (building) is located within 300 feet of a public playground, a building used for a church or synagogue, a public library or school. That distance is measured as a person walks from the nearest point of the proposed premises to the nearest point on the property line of the playground, church, synagogue, library or school.

Our communication wondered how a certain grocery store on East Union was legally selling alcohol when it sat much closer than 300 feet from a church-owned structure. We believe all of Minden knows the reference is Save-A-Lot and the St. Rest Church’s community center. But, looking at the law, the wording  “building used for a church” eliminates considering the center a church.

In addition, the Minden charter was amended in 2020 to include a specific wording change. Without boring you with a boatload of legalese, the ordinance in Section 6-25 notes alcohol may be sold, with a permit,  “…on premises situated within 300 feet or less, as fixed by the ordinance, of a building used exclusively as a church or synagogue…” The word “exclusively” should mean the distance requirement, under local ordinance, is met.

We were also asked if local ordinance supersedes state law. As previously noted, Rocker’s legal opinion is worth about a spit in the wind. Generally speaking, though, if there’s a conflict between a state and local law, state laws override any parish or local ordinances. This opinion, like others on which Minden depends, isn’t verified in writing.

In short, if someone is interested in challenging those sales, then someone would have to show the state’s “building used as” and the city’s “building used exclusively as” are conflicting. That will be about as challenging as Bill Clinton wondering what the court’s definition of “is” is.

 And speaking of is, did anyone notice that Rocker is stepping over the sleeping dog and walking around the dead horse? It’s not approval, it’s just reloading. 

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