The right decision

Commission correctly sided with citizens over liquor store

Who could blame them?

 

Several residents of Augusta’s Turpin Hill section have told Augusta commissioners flatly that they don’t want (a) a liquor store in their in neighborhood in general, and (b) Lion Package Store in particular.

And the commissioners made the right decision by listening.

The commission voted 9-1 Tuesday to deny a liquor license to a man who wanted to re-open the store under another name, Bush’s Package.

But it’s not the name that’s the problem. It’s the clientele.

We believe Marcus Bush when he said he’d strive to maintain rules for the store and its parking lot, which have long attracted customers who have been allowed to drink on the premises – with predictable antisocial results.

“It’s a bad look if you’ve got people hanging around,” Bush said.

It is. Know what else is a “bad look”? A shabby liquor store in an overwhelmingly residential neighborhood.

The package store is just a block away from the Carrie J. Mays Community Center, and from three churches. And it’s on a corner surrounded by modest homes, almost assuredly occupied by people who haven’t relished the idea of alcohol-fueled reprobates skulking around where they live.

The area isn’t even zoned for a liquor store, but the city’s planning office said its nonconforming use had been grandfathered in.

“If we vote against it, we’ll lose his liquor license and fees and his taxes,” Commissioner Dennis Williams said Tuesday. “If we vote in favor of it, it’s a possibility we can lose the confidence and the trust of the residents of this area.”

“These ladies late at night have to deal with this stuff, drunks staggering, cursing and fighting,” Commissioner Marion Williams said. “These ladies ought to be enjoying their life right now.”

The liquor-store opponents who showed up at the commission meeting applauded after the vote. We’d like to applaud the vote, too, for the commissioners striking a blow to improve citizens’ quality of life instead of further filling the city’s coffers.

 

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