Proposed liquor store causing concern for downtown residents

By Don Logana - bio | email

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - A possible new business, causing some downtown Savannah neighbors to make some noise.

The developer wants to turn an old, empty building on Abercorn Street between Bolton and Waldburg, into a new business. While most people support new business, most of the neighbors don't want this business.

It used to be Little King's Beauty Shop and Restaurant.

Now,  if a Savannah zoning board agrees, the long vacant property could be turned into a convenient store with cigar and liquor sales.

"Everyone is pretty much outraged. We do not want another source of liquor in this neighborhood," Mike Horner told WTOC.

Horner lives a few blocks away and is one of many who are against the idea for a neighborhood, he says, is still trying to clean up problems.

"A lot of liquor. I pick up bottles every day, thrown around. We don't need anymore," Horner said.

Horner attended last month's Metropolitan Planning Commission meeting, where he says, officials seemed to be against the idea of a liquor store.

"He wrote up a lot of things saying it would not be an asset to the neighborhood," Horner said.

"Once the use is granted, it is very hard to pull it back. So residents are very concerned," Alderman Van Johnson, city of Savannah, told WTOC.

Johnson says he's waiting for more information, while alderwoman Mary Osborne told WTOC Wednesday night, she's in favor of giving new business the benefit of the doubt. Johnson's hoping a meeting between residents and the owners will answer a lot of questions.

"I think the residents need to have the best information to make the best choice they can," Johnson said.

For Horner, his mind's made up. "We have Kroger that sells beer and wine. We have Jonnie Gannem's that sell everything. We have El Cheapo," Horner said. "We had one lady come up with a list and there have been 600 911 calls in the last four years (at El Cheapo.) That's not good for the neighborhood," Horner said.

He's worried another store selling liquor will lead to more problems. "We don't need more alcohol sales in this neighborhood," Horner said.

The zoning board tabled the issue so the owners can meet with the neighbors and the city. They'll get together Thursday night at 6 p.m. Metropolitan Planning Commission offices on East State Street.

WTOC will be there, and will have the latest developments Thursday night on THE News at 11.

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