Fresno City Council approves move to cut liquor stores

Among other things, the unanimously-approved measure caps new liquor store licenses, create an inspection program for stores, and limit window advertising.

The Fresno City Council unanimously voted on Wednesday to approve an ordinance that would limit the number of liquor stores within the city limits by half.

The measure, the Responsible Neighborhood Market Act, required


Proposed by Council members Miguel Arias, Nelson Esparza, and Luis Chavez, the measure – known as the Responsible Neighborhood Market Act – would place a cap on new off-site liquor licenses used by convenience stores.

Additionally, the measure would require new licensees to purchase an existing license from a business in a saturated area of the city, largely south Fresno.

The measure also expands the distance a liquor store can operate from a school – from the current 600 feet to 1,000 feet – creates a City-operated inspection program for operators, and limits the amount of window-space used for advertising to 5% of each window’s square footage.

During debate, northeast Fresno councilman Garry Bredefeld raised the likelihood of lackluster enforcement on the City’s inspection program. As it stands, the city’s code enforcement department has only two proactive units: one for weed abatement and one for rental housing.

Bredefeld pushed for added investment in the department to ensure it was sufficiently staffed to handle liquor store inspections. Council president Paul Caprioglio pushed the discussion off to budget negotiations.

The Fresno City Council was originally scheduled to consider a proposed 7-Eleven convenience store at the northwest corner of Cedar and Tulare avenues in southeast Fresno.

The location is directly across from Roosevelt High School and would be in violation of the newly-approved ordinance.

The project was temporarily withdrawn, as proponents did not have sufficient votes to avoid a denial, to be reworked.

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