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 In essence, the City Council rescinded the Planning Commission’s decision.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