Alcohol Distance Variances

Although Prohibition ended in 1933, the alcoholic beverage industry remains one of the most heavily regulated in the U.S. Today the Federal Government plays a role, but in most states, it is up to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to set policy on the density, location, and nature of sales outlets through its licensing activities. 

There are 11 states, including Texas, that allow municipalities to adopt a local ordinance prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages within a certain distance of a public or private school, church, day-care, child-care center and/or public hospital.  

Clients routinely hire Masterplan to solve the TABC required separation between schools, churches, hospitals, and daycare centers. Knowledge of various methods, including technical and political, has allowed the firm for restaurants, grocers, and general merchandise stores to open. Likewise, zoning changes can allow the introduction of alcohol into dry areas in some municipalities.

The firm has also successfully directed local option elections to allow for the sale of alcohol.

For example, Dallas, Texas requires a separation between beer and wine sellers and schools. Our team has obtained numerous variances to the distance requirements for grocery stores including Tom Thumb, Trader Joe’s, Alberton’s, Cash Saver and many others.  

The details of the law are quite complex, and there are some instances where these ordinances do not apply. If your new business location conflicts with an existing distance regulation, we recommend contacting Masterplan to better understand your options. 



Our alcohol distance variance clients include:




Karl Crawley
Executive Director, Texas

Karl Crawley is recognized as a leading zoning and land use consultant in the state of Texas.


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