FRESNO, CA (KMJ) – A Fresno City Councilor wants to limit the number of liquor licenses issued in the city.
District 3 Council Member Miguel Arias says it a problem of saturation of liquor stores and enforcement that he says has been going on for decades.
“For 30 years, we’ve been essentially approving licenses kind of on autopilot. If anybody applied, we saw that as a job producer, therefore you approved the license, never really considering the unintended consequences,” said Council Member Arias.
Speaking on the Ray Appleton Show on Tuesday, Arias said one district in Central Fresno has more than 100 stores selling alcohol out of more than 400 across the city.
Appleton’s fill-in host Clint Olivier responded, saying that as of 2017, there were 55 active liquor licenses in District 1, District 2 had 65 active liquor licenses, Aria’s District 3 had 78 active liquor licenses, District 4 had 64 active liquor licenses , District 5 had 58 active liquor licenses, District 6 had 43 active liquor licenses, and Olivier’s former District 7 had 102 active liquor licenses.
Council Member Arias said his plan would reduce the number of stores that sell liquor in the city by around half, by capping the licenses.
Any businesses wanting a new license would buy out an existing license in the same council area, and close the other store.
Council Member Arias’ proposed measure also has regulations on liquor and convenience stores and bans excessive advertising.
He also said he’s not trying to reduce the alcohol consumption by residents, but make sure it doesn’t deteriorate neighborhoods or impact public safety resources.
“Just last year we had around 50,000 calls for service in four council districts. That’s time that our officers don’t have — to deal with other issues,” said Council Member Arias.
Council Member Arias has the backing of Fresno’s Mayor Lee Brand, Police Chief Jerry Dyer and the Association of Convenience Store and Petroleum Operators, whose members complain of too much competition, which drives down profits.
Arias said he will be meeting once more with Fresno City Councilors before the legislation to change the municipal code goes before council on Thursday, April 25, 2018.
Click to listen to the report by KMJ’s Liz Kern: