Do you think there are too many liquor stores in the city of Fresno? Some council members say that’s one of the concerns they’ve been hearing from their constituents. Now a push is underway to decrease the number of liquor licenses in the city by half over time.
Fresno City Council Vice-President and District 3 representative, Miguel Arias says he has 80 liquor stores in his district. So he is proposing a solution to cap the level of liquor permits granted by the city.
You may recall, Fresno was recently ranked as the ‘drunkest city in the country’ by Men’s magazine.
Arias says, “We have been designated the drunkest city in the nation because of the abundance of alcohol and the lack of any enforcement for the condition that we have applied.”
According to the California Alcoholic Beverage Control, there is an average of one liquor store for every 2,500 people in the state. But in Fresno, some districts have 1 liquor store for every 500 people.
Fresno City Council District 5 representative, Luis Chavez is also behind the proposed ordinance.
Chavez says, “I have a liquor store in my district where there are 3 schools in the vicinity, so the children have to walk through often times individuals that purchased malt liquor beverages, and then urinate in front of kids. They are also sleeping on the side walk and harassing the kids.”
Right now, when a liquor store owner pays for a permit to sell beer, wine or liquor in Fresno, the permit is for life.
But under the proposed new rules a permit would last only 5 years, before it would have to be renewed.
The proposal would also increase the distance between a liquor store from a park, school or daycare from 1,000 feet to 500 feet.
The proposal would also cut down on advertisement both inside and outside the store. All window advertisement would have to be decreased from 15% to 5%.
Plus some store owners would have to turn in licenses in areas of an over concentration of liquor stores.
Members of the American Petroleum and Convenience Store Association say they’re willing to work with the city, but are concerned about the livelihood of hundreds of local families.
Andy Chhikara is the association’s spokesperson. He says, “Our concern is every 5 years when our members and the people who are law biding business owners go to the city to renew their license, they may not get their license. If that happens that means they will have to shut down their business.”
Chhikara says since his association was formed some 8 years ago, he and others had been warning past city council members, that it is handing out too many liquor store permits.
But he says they all just past the buck.
Now councilman Arias says no new businesses want to come to a city where excess liquor is sold.
“The saturation of liquor licenses and liquor stores have actually become an impediment to be able to attract full service grocery stores,” says Arias. “The Save-Marts and the Vons that every neighborhood wants in their communities will not come.”
The proposed new ordinance will be officially unveiled before the council later this month. It will go through several committees, but council members say its needed and some form of it will be adopted.
CBS47 Eyewitness News will continue to follow the latest developments and update you when new information becomes available.