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Lynwood Council Readies Limit on Liquor Sales

October 10, 1985|LEE HARRIS | Times Staff Writer

LYNWOOD — There are 105 establishments selling liquor in this city of 51,000, and to some people that is more than enough outlets.

Spurred by concerns of residents and following in the footsteps of a recent Los Angeles ordinance to restrict new liquor stores, the Lynwood City Council has tentatively passed a similar law by a 3-2 vote.

The proposed ordinance--which is scheduled for a final vote Tuesday--would make it tougher to open package stores, bars or restaurants that serve alcohol anywhere in the city. It also prohibits the opening of any new businesses, such as service stations and mini-markets, that sell alcoholic beverages and gasoline.

The city imposed a moratorium March 5 that prohibits the establishment of any carry out liquor businesses. That moratorium was to remain in effect until March, 1986. The new ordinance would supercede the moratorium.

"We have more than enough businesses already dispensing alcoholic beverages for a city of only 4 1/2 square miles," said Councilman E. L. Morris, who voted for the ordinance when it came up for its initial test Oct. 1.

'Enough Places to Stop and Buy Liquor'

"I don't think gasoline needs to be sold along with booze. There are enough places to stop and buy liquor," Mayor John Byork said.

"Lynwood residents have complained of antisocial behavior and criminal activities associated with certain liquor outlets in the city. Typical problems include loitering, littering, drug trafficking, prostitution, vandalism and excessive noise," according to a report presented to the council by the city Community Development Department.

The Community Development Department drew up the proposed ordinance, which amends an existing zoning ordinance. If the ordinance passes on a final vote, it would become effective in 30 days.

The new regulation "puts some teeth in the legislation. It gives the city better control," Morris said.

The new liquor ordinance was also praised by Ray Chavira, who has pushed for control and regulation of liquor establishments and is a member of the Lynwood Planning Commission.

"This is a forward-looking law that will go a long way toward stopping the proliferation and over-concentration of liquor stores," said Chavira.

A member of the Los Angeles County and California advisory commissions on alcoholism, Chavira said he has spent numerous hours in Lynwood and other cities trying "to raise community awareness" about alcoholism prevention.

The seven-member Lynwood Planning Commission gave its unanimous approval in August to the ordinance before it went to the council.

Council Opponents

The proposed ordinance would require that a new store or bar anywhere in the city that sells alcoholic beverages must obtain a conditional use permit. However, "bona fide restaurants" and veterans clubs chartered by the Congress need a conditional use permit only if they are within 300 feet of a residential area, school or church.

Councilman James Rowe, who voted against the measure, said he believed existing zoning ordinances were strong enough to control liquor sales.

Councilman Robert Henning, who also voted against the ordinance, said he does not oppose the ordinance but disagrees with the special provision for veterans clubs.

There is currently only one veterans club in the city, said City Atty.E. Kurt Yeager.

Proximity of Sales

The measure also would require that the stores cannot be located within 500 feet of another store.

Under the proposed law, any business seeking to sell alcoholic beverages must first obtain a conditional use permit from the city. The permit would establish the guidelines and specific conditions under which the liquor could be sold. The conditional use permit would be required in addition to a business license and a liquor license.

The state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control regulates liquor dealers, but cities have started to impose their own laws, said John W. Thompson, ABC assistant director.

"ABC has its own regulations. Will the liquor store aggravate a police problem or disturb a nearby neighborhood, or is it too close to a school, church, public park or hospital?" Thompson said.

"The majority of the cities in the state do not have ordinances regulating off-sale alcoholic beverage sales. But a lot more cities have started to adopt regulations out of concern over concentration of liquor stores and drunk drivers."

"Many cities are jumping on the bandwagon concerning drunk drivers, especially where it relates to the selling of fuel (gas)," Thompson added. "Many feel that if a driver buys liquor with his gas, he (the driver) definitely is going to pop it and drink it."

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