Wisconsin: Committee – More study needed on liquor ban
Source: Green Bay Press Gazette
November 29, 2016
More study is needed on whether banning liquor at gas station convenience stores would lower rates of littering, loitering and public intoxication, a City Council committee determined.
The protection and welfare committee Monday asked city staff to collect data on liquor sales violations, research policies adopted in other communities and review any scientific studies on the impact of liquor moratoriums. Staff will report their findings at the committee’s next meeting in December.
Alderman Randy Scannell, chairman of the committee, requested an examination of the city’s liquor license policy in response to a movement on the council to block any new licenses from being issued.
Scannell said he doesn’t necessarily support a moratorium, but he wants the city to have a consistent policy for awarding beer, wine and liquor licenses so that no business is put at a competitive disadvantage.
Alderman Guy Zima, another committee member, is leading the charge to block any new liquor licenses for convenience stores. He has successfully led the Council to deny three licenses by narrow margins since October, but two others were approved.
“I generally feel we should try to keep (alcohol sales) away from neighborhoods as much as possible,” Zima said.
Zima is targeting convenience stores because he believes low-paid, part-time employees there have a low stake in the businesses success and, therefore, are more likely to sell alcohol illegally.
Alderwoman Barb Dorff said she doesn’t see how a moratorium at convenience stores solves a problem. She said a multifaceted approach that includes education and treatment programming would have a greater impact on reducing alcohol-related problems.
“Where is the data that shows us if a convenience store has a liquor license there is a problem? I really wouldn’t want to make any decision without data showing there is a reason to make the change. I’m not convinced I’ve seen that yet,” Dorff said.
The committee also discussed a related request by Alderman Joe Moore to review the city’s policy for suspending and revoking liquor licenses. Moore said he’d like to speed up the process for addressing problem businesses. The committee voted to receive and place on file Moore’s request. The procedural vote ends discussion on the issue without further action.