The city passed a referendum last year to allow the sale of beer and wine throughout the city, including Preston Hollow, which was previously dry. It’s probably a safe bet to say that’s one of the things that attracted Central Market to the old Borders space at the southeast corner of Preston and Royal, which is under construction now.

However, the city’s current restrictions don’t allow businesses over 30,000 square feet to sell alcohol within 300 feet of a school, daycare, church or hospital. St. Mark’s School of Texas sits behind the Preston Oaks shopping center that houses Central Market.

“It’s property line to property line,” says Neva Dean, planning manager with the city’s Department of Sustainable Development & Construction.

That means that even if the store itself is far enough away, the rule applies to the shopping center as a whole. Central Market has requested a variance, and the city council is set to vote on it Monday, Nov. 7.

The city actually loosened its restrictions last month, and tighter rules had been in place since 2009, Dean says. Originally, businesses under 50,000 square feet were not even allowed to request a variance.

Central Market is the third grocer to apply. The first two were Kroger at Cityplace in East Dallas and Albertson’s at Hillcrest and Arapaho in Far North Dallas. The city council granted both requests.

Tom Thumb, located at the northeast corner of Preston and Royal, is far enough away from St. Mark’s, and received its beer and wine permit shortly after the referendum.

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