CITY COUNCIL

Liquor store votes get postponement

By TIM SINIARD
Posted 3/12/19

The Cleveland City Council on Monday postponed a vote to approve two liquor store licenses amid concern the locations of the proposed stores would affect the health and safety of the community.The …

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CITY COUNCIL

Liquor store votes get postponement

Posted

The Cleveland City Council on Monday postponed a vote to approve two liquor store licenses amid concern the locations of the proposed stores would affect the health and safety of the community.

The postponement until the next city council's meeting will allow the city time to seek outside legal counsel for an examination of certain provisions contained within a liquor store ordinance that was passed earlier this year.

The two applications that were postponed were for Red Hot Liquors, to be located at 1708 Wildwood Ave. and Georgetown Wine & Spirits, to be located at Georgetown Road and Westside Drive.

During the city council's regularly scheduled meeting, several city residents said the presence of a liquor store on Wildwood Avenue would interrupt progress made in the Blythe-Oldfield neighborhood, where transformation efforts made by local community development organization City Fields have have had a positive effect on the community.

Lois Moses, who has lived in the neighborhood for over 40 years, said she opposed the opening of a liquor store in her neighborhood, stating the quality of life there has increased.

Moses said the situation has gone "from bad to good, and I don't want it to go back to bad. City Fields has made a lot of improvement. We just don't need alcohol in our neighborhood."

City Fields Director Dustin Tommey said the presence of a liquor store would "undermine progress" that has been achieved in the community.

"It would be detrimental to the community," Tommey said. "There is research behind low-income communities and the location of liquor stores that directly correlate violence and crime."

Tommey asked the city council to postpone voting on the liquor store application to allow it to assess all of the details of the application for the Wildwood Avenue location and the effect the store's presence would have on the neighborhood.

Councilman David May suggested the city council delay the vote to allow the city time to consult with outside attorneys on the matter.

During the city council's 1 p.m. work session, which preceded its regularly scheduled meeting, Councilman Bill Estes also said research shows a direct correlation between liquor stores and violence. He said the location of the two liquor stores would be in areas he described as "hot spots" for potential criminal activities.

"I'm going to vote no at 3 p.m.," Estes said. "This is a health-of-the-community and safety issue. If we allow package stores where there are already problems, think of all the extra police resources we are going to be paying for if we don't make the right decisions now."

Councilman Tom Cassada agreed the Georgetown Road area is a "hot spot."

"It concerns me what the impact would be on the city and the police," Cassada said.

While Cassada said the city council had outlined rules regarding liquor store locations in its ordinances, he said the council needs to be responsible about where they are located.

"We need to do what's right," Cassada said.

Estes suggested the council obtain a second opinion from outside legal counsel, to determine which steps to take with liquor store applications.

"I have a problem with this and I would like to ask outside separate attorneys," Estes said. "We can find ways to regulate these [stores] ahead of time under other city charter/bylaws, what have you. These two stores are that important to the health of our community."


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