A conditional use permit for a proposed package liquor store on Jefferson City's West Main Street has been denied after several people in the neighborhood spoke out against the business.
At the Board of Adjustment meeting Tuesday, more than 25 people attended, a majority of whom were in opposition to the proposed business. The application for the package liquor store was filed by Jay Patel to be located at 1931 W. Main St., in a C-1 neighborhood commercial district, though the area is surrounded by single-family use.
Ten people spoke in opposition to the request, citing public safety concerns as the proposed store would have been located near West Elementary School. The city code requires any business with a liquor license be located 250 feet away from the front door of a school. According to the city's staff report, the proposed store would have been 430 feet from the school's front door.
Paula Schulte, a neighborhood resident, gave board members a copy of a petition she said had more than 180 signatures from residents of the area in opposition to the liquor store.
"Jefferson City needs to be proactive in controlling its alcohol landscape," Schulte said.
The Rev. John Kerr said he spoke with the community relations director of the Jefferson City Public Schools, which submitted a letter in opposition the liquor store, as did St. Joseph Cathedral School. Kerr noted that the vast majority of students at West Elementary School walk to and from school.
"The number one concern of mine is the public safety of our children," Kerr said. "(Alcohol) doesn't need to be sold in this location."
Senior Planner Eric Barron said the convenience store across the street from the location of the proposed liquor store sells liquor as well. Michael Berry, representing the Break Time located on West Main Street, said alcohol sales account for less than 5 percent of the stores sales. Berry said though the traffic increase in the short term would be positive for Break Time, in the long run the proposed liquor store would be detrimental to the neighborhood.
"You're going to damage this neighborhood," Berry said. "A liquor store is not entitled to be there."
Second Ward Councilman Rick Mihalevich spoke on behalf of fellow 2nd Ward Councilman Shawn Schulte and both 3rd Ward Councilmen Bob Scrivner and Ken Hussey. Mihalevich said the council members have received many calls from concerned residents and while they support business, they can not support the liquor store in the proposed location.
After about two hours, the public testimony portion of the meeting was closed and the board unanimously voted against the conditional use permit for the proposed liquor store.
"I must admit that this is painful for me," said board chair Wilma Partee. "It's an emotional effort for all of us, I'm sure."