We’ll see

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Opinion -

Sev­eral weeks ago, AV Press re­ported on the Lan­caster City Coun­cil de­ci­sion to grant Won­der Gro­cery Mar­ket a con­di­tional use per­mit (CUP) to sell al­co­hol. This de­ci­sion was made on ap­peal af­ter the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion de­cided to re­ject the CUP re­quest. In essence, the City Coun­cil re­scinded the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion’s de­ci­sion.

To­day, we learned from the State De­part­ment of Al­co­hol Bev­er­age Con­trol (ABC) that Won­der Gro­cery Mar­ket is lo­cated in a cen­sus tract that should have no more than four off­sale es­tab­lish­ments but in­stead has six. In ad­di­tion, its crime rate is ex­or­bi­tant and far higher than what is rec­om­mended by ABC which is 295 crimes or 120% of the city’s av­er­age crime rate. In­stead, the area had 593 crimes in 2016, the last year for which crime data is avail­able.

The re­scind­ing of Plan­ning Com­mis­sion de­ci­sions by Lan­caster city coun­cil is not new. This is very trou­ble­some and the ques­tion we have is, Why? Why would the Lan­caster city coun­cil con­tinue to dis­re­gard their Plan­ning Com­mis­sion and, more im­por­tantly, dis­re­gard the neg­a­tive im­pact their de­ci­sion will have on the res­i­dents of their city, es­pe­cially our youth?

ABC has crime and out­let den­sity thresh­olds for a rea­son. They un­der­stand that too many al­co­hol out­lets can neg­a­tively im­pact the health and safety of a com­mu­nity. Al­co­hol out­let den­sity is tied to vi­o­lent crime and many health con­di­tions like heart dis­ease of which we have the high­est rates in the county. In an area that has such poor health rates and such high crime rates, why would our elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives al­low for more al­co­hol out­lets?

Many years ago we fought for lo­cal con­trol, maybe it’s time to give con­trol back to the state. We’ll see. Xavier Flores Palm­dale

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