Liquor Store Expansion Update — Community Opposition Does Not Sway Planning Commission

The Planning Commission reviewed PJs Package Store’s request to add 1,530 square feet to its establishment on July 8. Despite Greater Hidden Hills CDC objections, it recommended approval. Now, the matter will go before the Board of Commissioners, July 22, 6:30 p.m.

The store is on the northwest corner of Panola Road and Redan Road. It wants to increase its square footage by 56%, going from 2,800 square feet to 4,330 square feet.

This means that three of the six storefronts in the strip mall would be occupied by the liquor store. Note that one of the other tenants (the Chevron gas station/convenience store), also sells liquor. (Sketch map attached.)

The Greater Hidden Hills Community Development Corporation opposes this expansion. Our overlay zoning code is designed to promote and encourage a healthy, prosperous, diverse array of businesses. We have many unmet needs in this community, forcing us to drive many miles to purchase the materials, services, and experiences that we want. Liquor stores are NOT among our unmet needs.

We have a surplus of liquor stores. Within a 20-minute drive from the center of the Hidden Hills Overlay District (roughly the center of the closed golf course), there are 62 beer, wine and liquor stores.

When you add the other types of stores that sell bottled alcohol, such as grocery stores, gasoline stations, and convenience stores, we find that we have close to 600 places where one can buy packaged alcohol within a 20-minute drive of our center. (Numbers from ESRI Business Data, 2013.)

I talked to some of those who voted in favor of the expansion. These respected members of the Community Council, DeKalb County Planning Department, and the Planning Commission have several reasons for their position. Here are the reasons I have heard:

  • The business is already there, and there are legal reasons why the County cannot deny it the opportunity to expand.
  • The business is in a cramped location, so expansion will make the strip feel less congested.
  • The business will be better able to thrive if it expands.
  • The community should make an effort to support small businesses in the community.

The owner of the liquor store is interested in meeting conditions to make the expansion more palatable. I will share those plans with you when I get them.

As we move forward to the final public hearing, we ask for your opinion and input. You can respond to this post or write to us at ghhcdc@gmail.com

 

Jan Costello
President, Greater Hidden Hills CDC

Sketch Plan-liquor store

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