VAN NUYS : Liquor Sales Permit Denied for Market

A Los Angeles city zoning official Friday refused to grant a permit to sell liquor at a Van Nuys store after hearing testimony that the area is afflicted by a high crime rate and an oversupply of liquor outlets.

City Zoning Administrator Jon Perica rejected an application by grocer Darshan Singh, who plans to open a 1,500-square-foot market at 14853 Sherman Way. Perica said Singh's application to sell liquor was "an easy one to reject because it's in such a heavily impacted area."

Perica based his decision on the fact that the crime rate in the area is about twice the city's average. Sgt. Bob Freet, a Los Angeles Police Department vice officer, told Perica that gangs, drug dealers and prostitutes can be found in the Van Nuys neighborhood surrounding the proposed market.

Moreover, Perica was persuaded by evidence provided by homeowner leaders that nine liquor outlets are located in the same census tract, two more than the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control deems advisable for such an area.

The proposed market also is across the street a church and a church school, Perica said. "We must take into account sensitive surrounding uses," he said.

The decision can be appealed to the city Board of Zoning Appeals, but it was not known whether Singh will do so.

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