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City Councilor Pat Davis Introduces Legislation Giving Neighborhoods New Notice, Input Before Adding Liquor Sales to Neighborhood Convenience Stores and Carryouts

The legislation will be heard by the City’s Environmental Planning Commission later this summer.

Saying some neighborhood convenience stores and carry outs have proven to be bad neighbors, City Councilor Pat Davis is proposing to give neighborhoods input on new liquor retail establishments coming to their neighborhoods.

Under existing zoning codes, retail liquor sales (carryout beer, wine and liquor) are considered permissive uses in most mixed-use areas, including the MX-M zone – the majority of which are along major roadways like Central, Coors, and Lomas. Davis’ proposed amendment to the Integrated Development Ordinance would change that use to a “conditional use,” in the MX-M zone, meaning an applicant would have to participate in a public hearing where residents can weigh in on the appropriateness and potential impacts of liquor retail sales in their neighborhoods.

“While most retailers of this type manage their sales responsibly, almost every neighborhood in a mixed-use area has a story about a convenience store or carryout which became a hub for discarded mini bottles of liquor, round the clock police and fire calls, or worse,” Davis says. “The state legislature refuses to allow cities to curtail the types of alcohol sold at these locations, but we can give neighbors and the City Council an opportunity to decide whether those types of conveniences make good neighbors or bring more problems than they are worth.”

As introduced, the IDO amendment would:

“make Liquor Retail a Conditional Use in the MX-M zone, unless accessory to a Grocery Store. Liquor Retail is a use that is often incompatible with adjacent land uses. The MX-M zone is mapped on many major corridors within the city, and often in close proximity to sensitive uses such as residential uses. By making Liquor Retail a Conditional Use this would allow for more consideration of whether a liquor retail use is appropriate in each location.”

In zoning rules, uses that are considered “permissive” are automatically allowed.  That is the case today for liquor retail in MX-M (mixed-use, medium density areas).  Changing liquor retail to “conditional” would require an applicant to go through a public hearing process before the Zoning Hearing Examiner, whose decisions are appealable to the City Council.

Adopted last year, the city’s new Integrated Development Ordinance included a process for annual updates in the form of amendments sponsored by Councilors.  Davis’ proposed amendment will be referred to the City’s Environmental Planning Commission for hearings later this summer beginning in September of this year. Follow the schedule of hearings at www.abc-zone.com