Merchants get the ABCs of liquor

Tim Willert

CITY HALL -- A proposed ordinance amendment under consideration by the

City Council would give Glendale more control over the sale and

consumption of alcoholic beverages and where new establishments spring



That’s what city officials on Thursday told a small gathering of

restaurant, night club and liquor store owners.

The proposed amendment would require a conditional-use permit for any


new establishment, for the sale of packaged liquor except at

supermarkets, and would establish a permit process for drinking alcohol

in the downtown area.

“Without a CUP, we have no local control over important land-use

issues,” Assistant Planning Director Jim Glaser said, referring to

residential areas, parking, operating hours and new zoning code


Under the proposed ordinance, liquor stores could open in commercial


and industrial zones with a permit.

But existing establishments would not be affected by the ordinance,

unless they expand.

“I don’t see a need for it at the moment,” said Leslyn Ray, president

of the Downtown Glendale Merchants Assn. “Are we doing it because other

cities are doing it?”

Presently, the city requires a conditional-use permit to serve alcohol

in commercial zones, except within the downtown area, which has the


highest concentration of the city’s 340 Alcoholic Beverage Control


“There’s no particular [crime] problem in Glendale, that hasn’t been

the case,” Glaser told the gathering. “But there are symptoms.”

One attendee, Realtor Greg Astorian, asked how the amended ordinance

would help alleviate crime if it doesn’t affect existing businesses.

“It might not address existing businesses as much as we would like,

but it’s a start,” Police Chief Russell Siverling said. “In the best of

all worlds, we would be imposing this on all businesses.”

With the exception of service stations, the city does not have any

zoning requirements for places where alcoholic beverages are sold rather

than consumed.

“There’s too much competition. The big guys are killing the little

guys,” said Joseph Meidaa, who owns Ace Liquors at 1740 Victory Blvd. “I

think the city should have control over new licenses.”

Thursday’s workshop will be followed by public hearings Feb. 11 before

the planning commission and March 19 before the City Council.

The council could then decide to introduce the ordinance.