Other States laws/regulations; Connecticut laws/regulations;

OLR Research Report

August 7, 2003




By: Daniel Duffy, Principal Analyst

You asked for the law in Connecticut and for a survey of other state laws concerned with setting a minimum distance between liquor selling establishments and places providing services to children and families.


Connecticut does not have a state law setting a minimum distance between a liquor establishment and places such as schools or churches. The law does prohibit the Department of Consumer Protection from issuing a liquor permit unless the proposed premises complies with local zoning, and local zoning may set such minimum distances.

We have identified 11 states with state laws concerned with the minimum distance between liquor sellers and schools, churches, colleges or universities, playgrounds or other designated places. The laws generally take different approaches and set very different minimum distances.


State law does not establish minimum distance requirements. But it does prohibit the Department of Consumer Protection from issuing a liquor permit unless the applicant submits documents from the town stating that the proposed use conforms to local zoning regulations. Some towns have used their zoning power to establish minimum distance requirements (CGS 30-44).


We have identified 11 states with laws concerned with setting a minimum distance between liquor-selling establishments and places providing services to children and families. They generally involve four elements: identifying the types of places, setting minimum distances, recognizing a municipal or local role, and specifying whether the standard is mandatory or discretionary.

Some of the laws also address how to the measure the distance and the starting and ending points.

Types of Places

Ten of the 11 laws apply the minimum distance standard to elementary and secondary schools. Some of these specify that the standard applies to public, private, and parochial schools. Eight apply the standard to churches. States have also applied the standard to: universities (4), public playgrounds or parks (3), hospitals (2), libraries (2), prisons (2), residential neighborhoods (2), homes for the aged (1), military installations (1), and funeral homes (1).

Minimum Distances

The laws vary widely in setting the minimum distance. Alabama's standard applies to establishments adjacent to a school or church. California's applies to establishments as much as 1 miles from a veteran's home. Half of the states establish a minimum distance of 500 feet or less.

Local Powers

About half of the states take some steps to respect local interests in this matter. The laws in two states apply the standard only where state facilities are involved. The law in another applies to state facilities and in unincorporated areas. Two states allow municipalities to adopt ordinances reducing the minimum distance standard. One state's standard applies only if the municipality has adopted an ordinance invoking it.

Mandatory or Discretionary

Seven states make the standard mandatory. This includes all three that generally restrict application of the standard to state facilities. The other four give either the state agency or a local body some discretion in implementing the law. Colorado allows municipalities to reduce or eliminate the standard. Delaware gives the state agency discretion. Indiana and Ohio give the state agency discretion, but only after local interests are notified and given an opportunity for a hearing. Mississippi applies the law to schools, churches, and funeral homes, but gives churches and funeral homes the right to waive it.

Table 1: State Minimum Distance Standard Laws





Ala.Code 1975 28-3-43

The state liquor board is prohibited from opening a state liquor store adjacent to schools or churches or in a neighborhood that is exclusively residential.


West's Cal. Penal Code 172

It is a misdemeanor to sell liquor within: mile of a state prison, 1,900 feet of a Youth Authority institution, 1 mile of certain state universities, 1 mile of a veteran's home. The distances must be measured by following the shortest highways.






C.R.S.A. 12-47-313

The state liquor agency is prohibited from approving an application for a location: within 500 feet of a public or parochial school or the principal campus of a college, university, or seminary. The prohibition does not affect renewals of establishments doing business before the school or campus was built. Distances must be computed by direct measurement from the nearest property line of the land used for the school to the nearest portion of the building in which liquor is to be sold using a route of direct pedestrian access. Local authorities may reduce or eliminate the minimum distance requirement.


4 Del.C. 543

The state agency may refuse to allow liquor sales by a new establishment located in the vicinity of a church, school, or college.


235 ILCS 5/6-11

The law prohibits the state agency from issuing a license for the retail sale of alcohol within 100 feet of a church, school (other than an institution of higher learning), hospital, home of the aged or indigent, veteran's home, or a military or naval station. In the case of a church, the distance is measured to the nearest part of the building used for worship and not to its property line. The law does not apply to license renewals. It specifically allows churches and church schools to locate within 100 feet of a previously-established liquor selling business.






IC 7.1-3-15.5 & 15.6

The law requires applicants for a new liquor permit to notify, among others: the principal, headmaster, or other administrator of each public, private, or parochial elementary or secondary school located within 1,000 feet from the applicant's property line; each church; and each neighborhood association in the same area. The notice must state: the address of the proposed establishment, the type of permit being sought, and state that any objections may be voiced at the hearing. The notice must be delivered at least 15 days notice before the application hearing. If a license holder has had at least five written complaints filed against him alleging liquor law violations, he must, when renewing his license, send the same notice to the same parties.


LSA-R.S. 26:81 & 26:281

When prohibited by municipal ordinance, the law prohibits the state agency from issuing a permit for a premises located within 300 feet of a public playground, a building used for a church or synagogue, a public library, or school. The distance must be measured as a person walks from the nearest point of the proposed premises to the nearest point on the property line of the playground, church, synagogue, library, or school.


M.S.A. 340A.412

The law prohibits the state agency from issuing a license (1) within 1,000 of a state hospital, training school, reformatory, prison, or other institutions under the control of the human services or corrections commissioners; (2) within 1,500 of a state university, with certain exceptions; (3) within 1,500 of a public school that is not within a city.






Miss. Code Ann. 67-1-51

The law prohibits the state agency from issuing a permit for a premises located within 400 feet of a church, school, kindergarten, or funeral home. The minimum may be reduced to 100 feet in areas zoned for commercial use. A church or funeral home may waive the distance restrictions by sending a written waiver to the state agency.


O. R. C. 4303.26

The law requires the state agency to give notice to the authorities operating a school, church, library, public playground, or town park whenever a permit to operate premises is being sought for a location within 500 feet of their property line. The notice must give the authorities the opportunity for a hearing on the advisability of issuing the permit.


37 Okl. St. Ann. 163.27

The law prohibits locating a business that has as its main purpose selling 3.2 beer from being located within 300 feet of the property of a public or private school or church.