Town Ponders Separation of Church and Beer

By Ari Mason
|  Tuesday, Jan 14, 2014  |  Updated 7:08 PM EDT
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The owner of a convenience store in Old Lyme is calling on the town to grant him permission to sell beer despite its close proximity to a church.

The owner of a convenience store in Old Lyme is calling on the town to grant him permission to sell beer despite its close proximity to a church.

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The owner of a convenience store in Old Lyme is calling on the town to grant him permission to sell beer despite its close proximity to a church, and residents are divided on the issue.

Asif Chaudhry, owner of the Best Way Convenience Store at 281 Shore Road in Old Lyme, is asking the Planning and Zoning Commission to revisit the rule that prohibits the sale of liquor at establishments located within 200 feet of a school or place of worship.

The convenience store is right across the street from Shoreline Church. Chaudhry, however, doesn’t want to sell all types of alcohol – just beer – and is asking the town to reconsider its zoning regulations if the state Liquor Control Commission approves his request.

Some residents said they’d prefer to stay in keeping with tradition.

“I would not want something like that around my church or near it,” said Old Lyme resident James Witkins.

But others suggested the law is behind the times.

“I think that Old Lyme has strict rules about everything and that they ought to get on the page with bigger towns,” said Laura Weaver. “It’s a very old-school tradition that needs to be changed.”

Chaudhry’s proposal was discussed at a public hearing yesterday. The commission will hold another meeting next month.

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