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SOUTH-CENTRAL : Permits Delayed for Liquor Stores

February 28, 1993|ELSTON CARR

Citing a history of crime-related problems associated with two liquor stores that were destroyed during the spring riots, the City Planning Commission has delayed granting the owners permission to rebuild.

After considering police reports on Bloom's and Finley's liquor stores, the commission requested environmental safety studies, said Theodore Stein, president of the five-member Planning Commission.

Stein said that the 1991-92 police reports show 221 calls for service at Bloom's Liquor and 711 calls at Finley's Liquor.

The report on Bloom's, at 3905 S. Normandie Ave., included 80 incidents of assault, 33 arrests for narcotics and alcohol-related violations, 10 drunk-driving arrests, 32 traffic accidents and eight arrests for open-container violations at or near the store.

The police report on Finley's Liquor, 5022 S. Western Ave., included multiple incidents of robbery, possession of firearms and drugs, stolen vehicles, open alcoholic beverage containers, attempted kidnaping and five homicides.

The commission's Feb. 18 decision came just two weeks after a planning examiner's report recommended rebuilding at the sites with restrictions that included the hiring of licensed security guards, curtailed operating hours and increased lighting.

Stein said that although community activists and neighbors have called for the permanent closure of the two stores, the commission cannot deny permission to rebuild and that the findings of the safety study will be used to increase restrictions that have already been recommended.

Responding to the latest delay in getting permission to rebuild, James Williams, a lawyer representing the operators of Bloom's Liquor, characterized his clients as victims. "This is a political situation," Williams said. "They want to get rid of the liquor stores, and they are using every device to squeeze the owners."

Gerome Buckmelter, a business consultant representing Finley's Liquor, could not be reached for comment.

In other action at the Feb. 18 hearing, the Planning Commission approved the conditional-use permits for three liquor outlets:

* AM/PM mini-market, 4400 S. Broadway.

* AM/PM mini-market, 504 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

* Buckingham Liquor, 4060 Buckingham Road.

The commission will make a final decision April 1 on Bloom's and Finley's liquor stores.

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