Vote on liquor store proposal may be delayed

By Don Logana - bio | email

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Savannah's zoning board is scheduled to vote Dec. 21 on the tabled issue of a proposed liquor store on Abercorn Street.

However, the controversial plan, opposed by many neighbors in the Victorian District, may be pushed back.

According to Metropolitan Planning Commission comprehensive planner, Jack Butler, "the item remains on the table, continued to the next regular meeting of the board, when it will be opened first on the agenda. But to be heard, there must be a quorum of members present. You are aware that, unless there is an appointment to the ZBA board at the Dec. 16 meeting of the Savannah City Council, there will likely "not" be a quorum of members present to vote on this item (since Mr. Robinson has recused himself from considering the case and Mr. Reese is out of town for the holidays).

If there is no quorum, it falls to the chair to determine if the case will be continued to a called meeting presently being scheduled for Dec.27 (the Monday after Christmas), or held until the January meeting of the board. The decision lies with the chair and will be made at the Dec. 21 meeting, if required."

On Dec. 9, concerned citizens met with the Patel family and their attorney, Harold Yellin, to discuss the proposal.

Several restrictions and ideas were proposed by neighbors that would make the petitioner's proposed liquor store more acceptable to the neighborhood.

These items included:

  • An agreement not to include electronic games of chance (Keno and Poker-style video games)
  • An agreement not to sell Lottery tickets
  • An agreement to forego sales of low-end alcohols and small-quantity alcohol ("no pints" and "no one-shot bottles")
  • A ban on loitering at the property
  • An agreement to forego sales of legal, but drug-related items (such as small pipes, metal mesh and screens, cheap "blunts" cigars, etc.)
  • A security plan to have off-duty police officers present at all times, "high definition cameras", an direct-to-police panic button
  • A review of proposed architecture to match "Victorian District" design standards
  • Deliveries through the front only (Abercorn entrance)
  • Concealment of the trash receptacles/dumpsters from the rear of the property
  • Fencing of the rear and lane-side yards to block foot traffic
  • Participation in sponsoring treatment programs for alcohol-related illnesses (AA?)
  • Enhanced site and vicinity clean-up and sanitation

Local business owner, Andy Patel, has proposed a convenient store/liquor store/cigar shop/sandwich shop at the old Little Kings property on Abercorn Street.

Neighbors fear the business will lead to increased crime and trash.

The Patel family is expected to present a revised plan to the neighbor's attorney, Karl Zipperer, within the next week, and to the zoning board on Dec. 21.

WTOC will continue to follow the story and bring you the latest developments.

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