Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco commissioners postpone decision on theater alcohol

DADE CITY — One after another, members of the Faith Baptist Church came before the County Commission on Tuesday to object to Cobb Theatre's proposal to serve alcoholic beverages at its new $7-million multiplex in the Grove at Wesley Chapel mall.

But County Commissioner Ted Schrader didn't have a problem with it.

"I understand the church's concern, but this is not a convenience store," he said. "Alcohol will be consumed on the premises. There is a multitude of obstacles" between the church and cinema.

Other commissioners also signaled support for the movie theater, perhaps with limits on the time and type of alcohol that could be served. But they postponed a decision Tuesday, opting to give Cobb more time to work on a compromise with the church.

The county bans alcohol sales within 1,000 feet of churches, schools and public parks. Cobb needs a waiver because the cinema is 827 feet from Faith Baptist.

Commissioner Michael Cox said it was already clear the board was leaning Cobb's way, but agreed with Commissioner Jack Mariano's suggestion to give the theater more time to find common ground with the church.

Commissioner Pat Mulieri proposed excluding hard liquor and allowing only wine and beer to be served. Mariano suggested the cinema limit the time of alcohol service to avoid conflict with church activities. Cox backed both suggestions.

But it's unclear whether the church is open to any compromise.

Fourteen church members argued Cobb shouldn't be allowed to serve alcohol. Most raised fears of drunken drivers and concerns for the safety of children at the church's school.

"You've made these ordinances to protect us and that's why the 1,000 feet ordinance is there," said the Rev. Scott Naill, the church's pastor. "You have to have the law there to protect someone. I'm just concerned about people leaving the facility impaired."

Church members said its school has about 200 children between the ages of 3 and 17.

"I don't care what you put up as safeguards," said Paul Haulk. "Somebody always pushes it. Please abide by the law that you guys instituted."

Cobb's attorney, Louis Terminello, said cinema attendants would closely check theatergoers' ages. Alcohol would only be served in limited access balconies for adults.

Terminello said there's already an apartment complex, chain link fence, retention ponds and a large parking lot separating the theater from the church. He said Cobb won't serve drinks to patrons' seats after movies begin.

"It's not a bar, it's not a night club," he told commissioners. "Your own code provides for a waiver. It allows you to impose reasonable restrictions when we come back to you for a conditional permit."

At the suggestion of County Attorney Jeffrey Steinsnyder, commissioners postponed a decision by combining the issue with a hearing on the cinema's alcohol license, expected in the next two to three months.

Chuin-Wei Yap can be reached at [email protected] or (813)909-4613.

>>In other county commission news

Tax break may be on horizon

• Time for a tax break? With the foreclosure rate in Pasco more than doubling over last year, commissioners asked the county staff to look into several ways to stimulate the local economy. Commissioner Michael Cox suggested the county waive a portion of property taxes for a year on foreclosed homes that are up for sale. He said that might encourage buyers and relieve the massive oversupply of homes on the market. Commissioner Ted Schrader suggested a gas tax holiday or sales tax holiday to bring relief to more people.

• Don't pick Pasco: The commission told its attorneys to draw up a resolution asking Progress Energy to reconsider plans to expand its east-west transmission lines along State Road 54. Progress Energy has an $18-billion expansion plan, and its east-west lines could run through Pasco or Pinellas County. Pick Pinellas, the commissioners urged.

Pasco commissioners postpone decision on theater alcohol 04/15/08 [Last modified: Thursday, April 17, 2008 11:48am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning edges Red Wings on road

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — The digs were different, the Lightning seeing the masterfully-done new Little Caesar's Arena for the first time.

    Lightning center/Red Wings’ killer Tyler Johnson gets past defenseman Trevor Daley on his way to the first goal of the game.
  2. Armwood pulls away to defeat Plant 27-7, remain undefeated


    SEFFNER — First-year Armwood coach Evan Davis pulled out all the stops to get his team psyched for Monday's annual grudge match against Plant.

    Armwood defensive end Malcolm Lamar (97) gets fired up before the start of the game between Plant High School Panthers and the Armwood High School Hawks in Suffer, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017.
  3. Clearwater police: Car thief dead after owner fires gun


    CLEARWATER — One man is dead after the owner of a car fired shots at the thieves who were stealing it Monday night, police said.

  4. Iraqi forces sweep into Kirkuk, checking Kurdish independence drive


    KIRKUK, Iraq — After weeks of threats and posturing, the Iraqi government began a military assault Monday to curb the independence drive by the nation's Kurdish minority, wresting oil fields and a contested city from separatists pushing to break away from Iraq.

    Iraqi security forces patrol Monday in Tuz Khormato, about 45 miles south of Kirkuk, a disputed city that the government seized in response to last month’s Kurdish vote for independence.
  5. Trump and McConnell strive for unity amid rising tensions


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump and Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, tried to convey a sense of harmony Monday after months of private feuding that threatened to undermine their party's legislative push in the coming weeks to enact a sweeping tax cut.

    President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell field questions Monday in the Rose Garden of the White House. “We have been friends for a long time,” Trump said.