CHIPLEY - Washington County Commissioners addressed the long-tabled issue of revising the county's ordinance for the sale of beer and wine when the board met in workshop Wednesday.
Commissioners have often discussed loosening restrictions on the sale and consumption of alcohol, but the issue was tabled in 2015.
Not to be confused with having Washington reclassified as a "wet" county - which would require a majority voter-approved referendum - the ordinance addresses only the sale and consumption of items that can already be legally sold, such as beer and wine containing under 6.234 percent alcohol.
State statute only prohibits the sale of alcohol within 500 feet of a school.
Washington County's ordinance is more restrictive, abiding by the state standards and also prohibiting sales near churches and residences.
Alcohol may not be sold within 2,000 feet of a church, and residential restrictions state alcohol can't be sold for consumption within 500 feet of any residence. It may be sold between 500 and 1,000 feet of a residence if all property owners give written consent; however, if not all residents agree, the restriction is 1,000 feet. Additionally, the existing ordinance states alcohol may not be served, sold, or consumed between the hours of midnight and 7 a.m.
Amendments proposed in the long-tabled draft would drop the church requirement 2000 to 500 feet, change time restrictions so that sales may resume at 4 a.m. rather than 7 a.m., and completely eliminate the residential restrictions.
Commissioners tasked County Attorney Jeff Goodman with drafting the less restrictive ordinance and are expected to address the issue again when the board meets in the August 24 regular session.