Viewpoint - September 15, 2010

Letter: No need for another liquor store in Menlo

I attended the August Planning Commission hearing regarding the BevMo permit application and was shocked at the split 4 to 3 vote approving a permit.

Liquor establishments, gun stores and massage parlors are held to a different standard than most retail outlets for fairly obvious reasons. In order to receive a use permit, these establishments need to prove that they are a convenience or necessity and that it is not to the detriment of the welfare of the city.

There are already 11 liquor retailers in Menlo Park, including a Safeway that is literally across the street from the proposed BevMo site. Clearly the BevMo store is unnecessary and the existing liquor stores (all within four miles) establish that the convenience argument is spurious. On this basis alone, the Planning Commission should have unanimously denied the use permit.

If that isn't enough, my real objection is the detriment to our town. Menlo Park is a family-oriented city with a classy image. Putting a discount, big box liquor store like BevMo on an important and prominent thoroughfare like El Camino, within walking distance of the train station, is not a positive.

Arguments that the BevMo will help our local economy are vastly overstated, as their sales will largely come at the expense of existing retailers in the area, many of which are locally owned and operated.

I implore fellow residents concerned about this issue to let our City Council members know about your opposition.

Maureen Hogan, Wallea Drive, Menlo Park


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