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Curbing Growth of Alcohol Outlets

August 23, 1987

Southeastern Los Angeles County residents concerned about the increasing alcoholization of their neighborhoods and communities can take heart from your "Tough Liquor Law Looms in Lynwood" (Southeast / Long Beach sections, Aug. 13). But much more than concern and fuzzy criticism of the easy availability and accessibility of booze, especially to minors, is needed for a real slowdown in the rates and growth patterns of mushrooming alcohol outlets.

Fortunately, concerned citizens and organizations can call the Lynwood Planning Department to get information on how they may gain some meaningful local control over the location, numbers, types, hours and manner of operation of both on-site and off-site consumption alcohol establishments.

However, some parts of the article and some quoted comments were somewhat off target:

First, the revised alcohol ordinance applies chiefly to new applications for a conditional-use permit.

Secondly, Lynwood's ban on selling alcoholic beverages at gasoline stations will never be challenged in court because there is not enough time for a challenge to be heard. The state has passed a law, which takes effect in 1988, that bans local governments from regulating such sales.

Thirdly, prohibiting single-bottle sales of beer and wine coolers is not particularly innovative anymore--the Alcoholic Beverage Control Department and the City of Los Angeles commonly include that restriction in some convenience- and liquor-store conditional-use permit applications.

Finally, "liquor" is not the appropriate term to describe the ordinance's applicability to all forms of alcoholic beverages--beer, wine and distilled spirits.

Whether sold for on-premises or off-premises consumption, beer and wine, respectively, comprise 78% and 16% of all booze consumed in California.

But since beer and wine establishments are not covered by the restrictive population ratios applied to "liquor" stores, wise local governments ought to adopt supply-side conditional-use-permit ordinances so they can locally control the distribution of firewater in their jurisdiction.



Chavira is a former member of the Lynwood Planning Commission.

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