Gas Station OKd for Beer and Wine Sales

A gas station in a high-crime area received permission this week to obtain a liquor license, despite warnings from city planners.

Although the Planning Commission recommended against it, a divided City Council approved a beer-and-wine permit for the Chevron Service Station at 3190 Harbor Blvd.

Mayor Peter Buffa and council members Libby Cowan and Gary Monahan supported the permit, while council members Joe Erickson and Heather Somers dissented.

Somers said there already are too many liquor licenses citywide, and the Chevron station's neighborhood has a crime rate 77% higher than the citywide average.

But Monahan said that in fairness, officials must treat all qualified businesses equally.

State law requires cities to review crime statistics before granting liquor permits. Applicants then must seek the actual license from the state Alcohol Beverage Control board.

Chevron officials expect sales to increase 25% with the addition of the beer and wine sales.

The council also was divided on the station's request to erect a 65-foot-high, 163-square-foot lighted sign visible from the San Diego Freeway. Buffa, Monahan and Erickson voted in favor of an illuminated sign, and Somers and Cowan dissented.

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