Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Cafe Selling Alcohol near Church Meets Standard

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Cafe Selling Alcohol near Church Meets Standard

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Scanlan, Times-Union staff writer

Fruit Cove Baptist Church's pastor, the Rev. Timothy Maynard, loves coffee.

So when the 13 Bean Coffee Shop opened at 585 Florida 13 just south of his church, he said it was a "dream come true. You don't know how I love coffee."

Then he learned the coffee shop had received a special-use permit to sell wine and beer during live jazz, blues and instrumental music sessions on Friday and Saturday nights.

That shouldn't have been allowed, Maynard said, because 13 Bean is within 1,000 feet of his church, and half that distance from his new and very busy ROC (Reaching Our Community) Center.

"I have things going on here six days a week. It is just not a puritanical, anti-alcohol thing. My concern is safety," Maynard said. "I plan to go back to the commission and take surveys we have done. I want to show them how far this strip mall is from the new building, which they did not measure. We are not going to picket the place, but there may be an oversight in the ruling."

St. Johns County's assistant zoning manager, Rachel Bennett, said measurements taken before the permit was granted in July place 13 Bean more than 1,000 feet from the sanctuary, the only part of church property that matters in cases like this. And any appeal the church could file should have been done no later than 30 days after the ordinance was signed July 10.

"This distance shall be measured by measuring the shortest route of pedestrian travel between main entrances," Bennett said. "Churches are allowed a lot of accessory buildings, and we recognize that as part of church outreach. But there has to be some way of defining a church, and that is the sanctuary,"

The 14,000-square-foot Bartram Village shopping center in Fruit Cove opened in the spring. The 23-year-old church to the north built its 850-seat sanctuary a few years ago and opened its three-story, $6 million family ministry center a few weeks ago. …

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