In an effort to encourage local liquor and corner stores to upgrade their products and outward appearance to the community, 9th District Councilmember Steven Neal, along with Councilmembers Robert Garcia, Dee Andrews and Vice-Mayor Suja Lowenthal, are introducing the "Healthy Options, Safe Communities" Campaign.
The components of this program, a liquor store moratorium, a "deemed approved" ordinance, and a neighborhood market conversion program will be brought to the City Council meeting tomorrow at 5 p.m. located inside City Hall (333 W. Ocean Blvd.).
Here is an excerpt from a recent press release on this subject matter:
"Councilmember Neal announces several legislation items to the City Council – a “deemed approved” ordinance, a liquor store moratorium, anda neighborhood market conversion program that will provide healthieroptions to the community.
By working with Councilmembers Robert Garcia, Suja Lowenthal, DeeAndrews, and City Departments, Neal plans to develop a “DeemedApproved” Ordinance. The new ordinance will compliment the existing Off-sale Alcohol Beverage Conditional Use Permit process to address publicnuisance alcohol outlets that have been grandfathered in.
The Liquor Store Moratorium is a city wide policy that aims to deal with high concentrated areas of liquor stores in the community by creating an interim zoning ordinance with the help of the City Council, City Attorney,and Department of Developmental Services. To help improve overall neighborhood experience, the neighborhood conversion program willprovide incentives for local corner stores and liquor stores to provide healthier food options."
Last week, Neal held a media conference that was covered by the Uptown Gazette and the Press-Telegram which gave Neal and his Chief of Staff Rex Richardson an opportunity to clarify some of the details. They explained that this initiative isn't aimed at taking out small businesses, but to provide healthy options to the surrounding community while addressing some of the blight concerns that come along with some liquor stores. Apparently, this is already being done in other cities like Oakland, Seattle, and many others, and Long Beach plans to implement existing conditions.
Another thing that should be noted that these businesses aren't FORCED into participating, but they are offered incentives to get involved. An example would be improving their facade, learning that they can offer 1% milk instead of whole milk and still generate revenue, and there can also be an educational component that can help them learn about the proper amount of signage to display on windows, etc.
Have you been to a liquor to store that you know is known for it's crime and nuisance? How do you feel about the City taking action to help support stores that want to change their image to the community? In your neighborhood, do you have to deal with poorly maintained stores or are you in a situation where you take a different route home just to avoid certain corner stores?
Let it be known below!
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**Disclosure - Part of 562CityLife staff is a staff member on Councilmember Neal's administration.