No beer for Williston Pizza Hut, for now

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By Carolyn Ten Broeck

Pizza Hut, Williston’s latest eatery, may not depend on beer and wine sales for its success but it would like to offer its patrons the option of a drink with their meals.

On Jan. 7, the restaurant’s management asked council to look at its ordinance that prohibits the sale of alcohol within 300 feet of a church.

Pizza Hut, located on Noble Avenue, is close to two storefront churches and therefore cannot sell beer or wine to its customers.

“Our business does not necessitate alcohol,” said Doug Hubbard. “We’re a family restaurant and it accounts for about 10 percent of our sales. It’s something we do for our customers.”

What followed was an hour-long discussion about if a variance should be granted or if the ordinance needed to be amended.

The original ordinance was adopted in 1958 and tweaked in 1974, and the consensus of the council was it should be reviewed.

Council President Jason Cason said he was opposed to the sale, even after learning that legally any business can give away alcoholic drinks, even if it is close to churches – it just can’t be sold.

But because there are several holes in the ordinance, the consensus of the council was to direct staff to seal some of those holes by amending the ordinance and bringing it back to council to review in two weeks.

The council will then determine what parts of the ordinance it likes or dislikes and tweak it more.

“I think it’s safe to say,” Cason said to the Pizza Hut representatives, “you won’t be selling beer any time soon.”