EBR to consider moratorium on liquor permits, zoning
BATON ROUGE- Some people claim alcohol causes crime. Now, there's a grassroots push to better regulate neighborhood stores that sell alcohol in Baton Rouge.
It started with a temporary ban on liquor licenses just in South Baton Rouge. But other Metro Council members wanted in, so starting Wednesday, the council will go through the process of expanding the ban to five of the parish's lowest-income districts for 90 days, and include alcohol-related zoning requests.
The moratorium is only being established while council tweaks laws already on the books. Some members want new requirements in the permit process that will distinguish the businesses better, that better inform the public about what's coming to their neighborhoods and that give the ABC Board more authority to say no to more of the businesses.
People in the neighborhoods affected say the stores pose as groceries or supermarkets but primarily sell alcohol. They also say there's far too many of them, and they want that regulated.
Some council members say the action is their top priority because the stores are undermining the progress of the neighborhoods, but store clerks we talked to say the focus on their stores is unfair because they do sell more than alcohol to the communities.
Metro Councilwoman Donna Collins-Lewis said, "I'm not anti-alcohol, I'm not anti-CAB1 or CAB2's, but I am concerned about the saturation in certain areas within the city."
"When you look at the high crime rates that are associated with this, when you look at the children being killed in the street, that's a much larger issue than at the end of the day, 'I want to make a dollar,'" said Metro Councilwoman Tara Wicker.
Council will vote on the moratorium August 10th.