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Dothan city commissioners had two applications for retail beer licenses to take action on at their recent board meeting. Both were pool halls on East Main Street. After much discussion, only one was approved.

The only difference in the two businesses was the properties’ proximity to church property.

A city code says that a business cannot sell alcohol on its premises if it is less than 200 feet from church property at the nearest point of its property line.

The property that housed Hill-Hill Billiards is 196.6 feet from the corner of property owned by First Assembly of God Church.

The ordinance, Section 6-33, forbids establishments from selling alcohol less than 200 feet from “any church grounds, school grounds, public park, youth club, group home, shelter home, halfway/transitional house or licensed day care facility and measured in a straight line from the nearest property boundary of the licensed premises to the nearest property boundary of any use listed above.”

The business owner noted that the church property in question was not used primarily for religious services.

Commissioner Kevin Dorsey also added that 10 out of 12 surrounding businesses surveyed were proponents of granting the pool hall a retail beer license.

Ultimately, four commissioners and Mayor Mark Saliba voted down the application, standing by the city ordinance, while Dorsey and Commissioner Janasky Fleming voted in favor.

Another pool hall, Break N Run, was granted both a retail beer license and a pool and billiards license.

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Government Oversight, a government notebook compiled by reporter Sable Riley, appears Mondays in the Dothan Eagle and at DothanEagle.com.

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