Tuesday, June 19 , 2018, 4:05 pm | Fair 67º


Letter to the Editor: Liquor Store Not Welcome in Neighborhood

It has come to my attention that on Jan. 19, Beverages & More Inc. (BevMo) applied with the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control for off-sale general and on-sale beer and wine liquor licenses for 3052 State St. in Santa Barbara (formerly Thomasville Furniture).

Our San Roque neighborhood already has nine off-sale stores within walking distance of this location (a ¼-mile radius), and several bars and restaurants. According to ABC records, 95 liquor licenses have been issued in the 93105 ZIP code area of Santa Barbara, of which 26 are off-sale licenses. Our area of town is already oversaturated with the licenses. I can’t see that allowing one more is in our best interest.

I am concerned that by allowing BevMo into our neighborhood, the children who live here as well as the students of Peabody Charter School and San Roque School will be adversely affected. Additionally, the location is right across the street from McKenzie Park, with its playgrounds and sports field.

Studies show that neighborhoods with higher concentrations of liquor stores also have higher rates of felonious assaults, auto thefts, underage drinking, alcohol-related hospitalizations, drunken driving accidents and pedestrian injuries — to mention a few. We don’t need another one — especially one on the scale of BevMo.

Furthermore, there is already a huge traffic problem at the intersection of State and De la Vina streets, and should this big liquor outlet be allowed to move in, the gridlock would be compounded. The alleyway immediately behind the location would have a constant flow of traffic, and the parking lot for the location is within 100 feet of private homes — further endangering the quiet neighborhood.

We are already dealing with the huge problem of 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. Most likely, the alleyway would become the main entrance to the store.

I signed and mailed my protest letter of BevMo to the ABC on Feb. 5, and since then, I have received two disturbing calls from the ABC in Ventura regarding my protest. During those calls, I was told “Drop your protest,” “It is already approved,” “You do not want to pursue this and go to a hearing” and “Stop contacting the police chief and City Council, because they do not have any say in this matter.”

Another disturbing statement was: “This store is good for the area because it will get rid of the smaller local businesses.” I informed her that I am not dropping this protest, and that I will definitely attend a hearing to voice my protest and opinion. Today, a gentleman living directly behind the location also contacted the ABC after he saw its posting, and he was told the same thing.

My understanding was that by posting a “Public Notice of Application,” the ABC was giving residents a chance to protest a location they see as inappropriate and unfit for their neighborhood. I also don’t see how an application can already be approved before the posting time is up. Furthermore, is it the ABC’s normal way of handling these matters by contacting every person who files a protest and discouraging them from doing so?

How can another big-box store benefit our community?

The deadline to protest this liquor license is Feb. 19, so I stress the urgency of this matter.

Jerry Vigil
Santa Barbara

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >