Booze, pews and ABC reviews



They say close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

We have another example of where close counts...and where getting too close can cost you your business.

When the owners of a convenience store in Haskell decided to add a liquor store to the back of their building, they knew it had to be more than 1,000 feet from the nearest church.

They also knew they were flirting with that distance.

But two different surveyors with the state took ground measurements and concluded that the distance was just over 1,000 feet.

So a state permit was issued, investment was made and soon Back Door Liquor was open.

In 10 will close.

You can't see it from the liquor store, but a nearby church objected to the liquor store's location.

Turns out the distance between the booze and the pews is 980 feet...confirmed by three different surveyors using air measurements.

"And the ground measurements...they were by tape." explains Pastor John Bagby with Mount Harmony Missionary Baptist Church. "They were by rolling devices. It's all subject to human error."

An attorney representing the liquor store says this case is as much about fairness as it is about morality or the law.

He argues that it is unfair for ABC to approve a location and issue a permit based on one measurement method and then switch to another measurement method after an objection is raised.

"All we did was let it be known that we were within that 1,000 feet," says Pastor Bagby. "And I believe that our community expects that of us. To be a...what you might say a lighthouse of morality in our area. And other churches would have done the same thing."

The liquor store's appeal of its shut down will be heard March 16th.

Air date: February 12th, 2016

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