A state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control sticker recently was affixed to a window at the former Thomasville Furniture building at 3052 State St. indicating that Beverages & More Inc. — more commonly known as BevMo — had applied for an off-sale liquor vending license there, stirring residents of the San Roque, Samarkand and other nearby neighborhoods into action.
A small group of area residents has banded together to protest the store’s potential move to the site, saying that allowing a large liquor store into a section of town that already has several bars and liquor stores would be detrimental to children living in nearby houses, playing at MacKenzie Park and attending Peabody Charter School.
“We’re already dealing with a huge problem in this area with the homeless community and an abundance of panhandlers and drug users, so an added location for them to hang out to bother the public — especially with an alleyway right behind it — is of grave concern to our neighborhood,” said Jerry Vigil, a vocal opponent of BevMo opening a store in the San Roque area.
“It’s a bad spot for it. We already have too many liquor stores around here.”
Vigil also expressed concern that truck traffic from the store would affect the homes behind it, including his.
One question that has been raised is whether BevMo — known in other locales to be a large store generating significant traffic — would have enough room for parking.
“I don’t know where they’ll put parking,” said Gretchen Rosenblatt, who has two children attending Peabody School. “There are about 10 spaces (in front of Thomasville).
“Usually, I see BevMo (stores) in large industrial areas with lots of parking.”
While a few comments regarding a large, corporate store’s potential impact on local businesses have popped up, there is little certainty about the effect BevMo would actually have on the area.
“When you have a big corporation right next to you, it will affect business, but I’m not sure how bad it will affect it,” said Sam Taham, a manager at San Roque Market & Liquors, 3014 State St., one of several small shops in the area selling alcohol for consumption off-site. “I think there’s no benefit. There are too many liquor stores here.”
Vigil said he alone has sent more than 50 letters to the ABC asking it not to grant a license to BevMo, and he has enlisted the help of neighbors, sending in a total of more than 100 letters.
“If they get enough letters, they have to have a public meeting,” he said, adding that his attempts to get more information about the public hearing process — if there is one — have been stymied by ABC officials. “They told me to drop my protest.”
Vigil said that with Friday the last day for public comment, he and other opponents of BevMo’s license application had little time to get their comments in order.
After repeated phone calls Thursday to ABC’s Ventura-based regional office — which Vigil said he had been in direct contact with — agency officials did not respond to Noozhawk requests for comment.
— Noozhawk staff writer Ben Preston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.