After a little bit of uncertainty concerning whether it could be granted, the liquor license given to Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Clair looks to be a done deal.
City Administrator Rick Childers told The Missourian last week that there should be no problem with the license even though city and state law state no liquor license can be granted within 100 feet of a church.
“Since the church requested it and since the city is OK with it, as near as I can tell it should be OK,” Childers said. “We asked (city attorney) Kurt Voss about this and if we can issue them a license because of how the laws read, and he checked it out for us. He said if the city is OK with it and (Missouri Alcohol and Tobacco Control) has no problems, the license should be fine.”
The city’s board of aldermen granted the license to Holy Trinity after congregation president Russ Jackson requested it on June 4. The license allows selling or dispensing of alcoholic beverages at its discretion. The church is the first one in the city to obtain an annual liquor license.
City, State Ordinances
According to the city’s code of ordinances, Section 4-25, “No license shall be granted for the sale of intoxicating liquor, as defined in this chapter, within 100 feet of any school, church or other building regularly used as a place of religious worship, unless the applicant for the license shall first obtain the consent in writing of the board of aldermen.”
State law basically reads the same way in Section 311.080.
Childers said the key language in the law that allows Holy Trinity Lutheran Church to obtain a liquor license is the last statement regarding the applicant getting permission from the board.
“We did check this out,” Childers said. “Alcohol control has seen the application. Apparently, they didn’t have a problem with it.”
When Jackson appeared before the board of aldermen in early June, he said a main reason for the request of the license was because “several times over the year, we get picnic licenses approved for the church. It will just make it a whole lot simpler for us to get a (regular) license.”
Jackson said the church plays host to many functions over the course of a year, including wedding receptions, banquets, auctions and church-related functions. He also said there is competition to house those kinds of events, and other venues have an advantage because they have a regular liquor license.
“We put (a lot of money) back into the community,” he said. “And some of our programs are very expensive to run. It’s just time for us to move on and compete with others in the area and get a liquor license.”
Before the decision was made to approve the request last month, Mayor Ron Blum reminded the aldermen that if the license was granted, the church could sell packaged liquor as well as alcohol by the glass.
“It’s a full license,” Blum said.
St. Clare Catholic
During its July 2 meeting, the board of aldermen approved a one-day picnic license for St. Clare Catholic Church for Saturday, Aug. 18. The Rev. Bob Knight made the request for the day the church conducts its annual picnic.