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Zoning Can Help Control Alcohol Sales

February 12, 1987

In your Feb. 5 Digest page, you cited a Texaco spokesman volunteering to sell beer and wine warm and to a six-month trial period at a self-serve gasoline station in Norwalk. Fortunately for the residents of that booze-saturated neighborhood on Rosecrans Avenue, their City Council "voted 4 to 1 to deny a conditional-use permit" to that Texaco station.

What concerned residents of any community beset by alcoholization ought to be aware of is that there are any number of conditions or restrictions that can be placed, through wise planning and zoning ordinances, on any type of alcohol outlet when a new local permit and state license are sought. And since beer and wine, respectively, comprise 78% and 16% (94% total) of all alcoholic beverage consumption in California, communities can ill afford not to protect themselves by demanding effective local and Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) conditions for each retail premises dispensing booze.

Although limiting the hours of sale to less than the state maximum--6 a.m. to 2 a.m. the following day--is critical, so are the following reasonable restrictions among many designed to reduce alcohol-related problems:

Selling beer by no less than the six-pack or case and wine coolers by the four-pack; no visible or external advertising of alcoholic beverages; no cheap fortified wine sold in bottles smaller than a fifth; no paper or plastic cups sold in less than package size; no video arcades or other electronic attraction for young people, and no minors permitted to sell alcoholic beverages.

Were proliferation and over-concentration of alcohol outlets, illegal sales to minors (comprising 65% of ABC Act violations), and alcohol not the dangerous drug we know, we wouldn't have to be so creative in protecting our health, safety and (the) neighborhood peace.

--RAY CHAVIRA

Lynwood

Chavira is a former Lynwood Planning Commission member and former member of the county Commission on Alcoholism.

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