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WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2005
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EDITORIAL

Agreement between store and church is refreshing

Too often we have to report on disputes between neighbors. So it was refreshing to see a story Tuesday about a potentially volatile issue solved amicably between Decatur Church of the Nazarene and Ismael "Sam" Abusaleem, owner of Sandlin Food Mart.

Mr. Abusaleem's Southwest Decatur store has struggled for several years to be profitable, he said. He recently concluded that the store would be viable only with the ability to sell beer and wine for off-site consumption.

Members of the church, which is 320 feet away, could have vetoed the proposal since city ordinance prohibits the sale of alcohol within 500 feet of a church.

But the ordinance also contains a handful of exceptions, and, rather than being contrary neighbors, Mr. Abusaleem and church members agreed to a deal that will benefit both.

Mr. Abusaleem plans to plant two rows of fast-growing Leyland cypress trees at the corner of the church property, shielding the view of the store from the church. The trees will create a natural barrier between the buildings, qualifying as one of a handful of exceptions provided in the alcohol ordinance.

The trees will make the church property more attractive while allowing Mr. Abusaleem to make a go of his business.

And, as Nazarene Pastor Ronny Noriega said, church members will be able to continue enjoying the convenience of Mr. Abusaleem's store.

When neighbors find ways to cooperate, everybody wins.

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