After arguing during a Chattanooga Beer and Wrecker Board meeting this morning, members of a local church and residents of the Orchard Knob neighborhood continued to exchange words after exiting the City Council building.
Members of the Pentecostal Church of God wanted to revoke the beer license of the Z & J Grocery Store, located at 1725 Orchard Knob Ave., because the establishment is too close to a church as outlined by city ordinance. City ordinance requires that an establishment selling carry-out alcohol be more than 200 feet from the entrance of a church or school. The grocery store is less than 200 feet from the church, officials said.
After hearing testimony from residents and church members, the beer board voted 5 to 4 to take no action on the matter, which means that the store can remain open.
Store owner Tammy Rena Alazzam claims that when she applied for the permit in May, the church was inactive, as evidenced by the overgrown grass. She received the permit in June, but she did not open the store until earlier this month. Police said the electricity had been turned off at the church when the beer board approved the license in June.
“If that was a legitimate church, I wouldn’t have spent the money that I did to put in this business,” Ms. Alazzam said.
Pastor Evan Settles said he commutes from Atlanta and has been running the church for 15 years. Members of the church said it is open at least three days a week.
For complete details, see tomorrow’s Chattanooga Times Free Press.