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Pico Rivera : Suit Hits Alcohol Sales Ban

November 27, 1986

A coalition of convenience stores and gasoline retailers has filed suit against Pico Rivera over the city's ordinance banning the sale of gasoline and alcohol at the same outlet.

The Food and Fuel Retailers for Economic Equality, a coalition representing 3,000 convenience stores in the state, alleges that the city's ordinance is discriminatory because it singles out one group of retailers for special restrictions but does not affect competitors such as grocery and liquor stores.

The suit, filed last month in Superior Court in Norwalk, also stated that the regulation of alcohol sales is exclusively reserved to the state and that the city's ordinance is an improper use of municipal zoning powers.

On Sept. 15, the City Council unanimously adopted the ordinance banning the sale of alcoholic beverages in any new gasoline station. Council members cited continuing concern with the number of alcohol-related traffic accidents as the main reason for the ordinance. City staff also presented studies linking drunk-driving accidents with alcohol bought at gas station mini-markets. At least 40 cities around the state have banned the sale of alcohol at gasoline stations.

City Atty. Sam Siegel said the city is preparing a response to the complaint. "We think our ordinance is valid," he said. He added that the city does not plan to stop enforcing the ordinance while the suit is being decided, he said.

The retailers' group has filed similar suits against nine other cities and counties in California, said Les Hausrath, an attorney representing the coalition.

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