Valley News -

By Will Fritz

Menifee cleans up alcohol sale restrictions


Last updated 10/5/2018 at 1:07am

Menifee has amended its restrictions on where alcohol can be sold. Menifee City Council voted unanimously during their Sept. 19 meeting to increase the minimum distance between some types of public institutions and certain businesses that sell alcohol.

Liquor stores, mini-marts selling alcohol, service stations selling beer and wine and other similar businesses will now be barred from operating within 600 feet of the closest public entrance to religious or educational buildings, daycare centers and public parks, unless both are located in a commercial zone.

Currently, the law bars those types of land uses from being within 500 feet of each other, with no exceptions – and the distance is measured by property lines, not entrances.

Menifee Planning Manager Lisa Gordon told council members that city staff took up the matter at the request of local business owners who were hoping for a little more wiggle room in some situations.

“For example, we had a case with a gas station or convenience store that was proposed to be located in a shopping center; however, in the shopping center there was an existing church,” Gordon said. “The property’s zone was commercial, and our current ordinance does not allow an exception, so we couldn’t allow the gas station to sell beer or wine.”

In another situation, Gordon said, a convenience store was prevented from selling beer and wine because its property line was within the minimum distance from a religious institution, despite the fact that the two were both zoned for commercial use, were on different blocks, were separated by a hill and were not visible from each other.

Staff looked into what other nearby cities were doing and chose to pursue similar rules, Gordon said.

For example, Murrieta lowered its 1,000-foot setback between alcohol-selling business and schools to 600 feet in 2012 and has a process for making exceptions. Temecula has similar rules.

Under the new rules in Menifee, businesses will still be required to get a conditional use permit before they can sell alcohol, Community Development Director Cheryl Kitzerow said.

City Councilman Matt Liesemeyer thanked city staff for the opportunity to amend the restrictions.

“Good job in catching some cleanup opportunities,” he said.

Will Fritz can be reached by email at [email protected]


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