Facing concerns that a flood of carry-out liquor stores had popped up west of downtown, Davenport aldermen will consider a six-month moratorium on new liquor licenses in that area.
The area being considered runs from Marquette Street on the west to River Drive and Federal Street on the east, from the Mississippi River on the south to 6th Street on the north. The resolution is on Wednesday’s Committee-of-the-Whole agenda. It would be voted on at the April 10 city council meeting.
“We don’t want the trend in Davenport where every former gas station becomes a liquor store,” Alderman Bill Boom, 3rd Ward, said. “We will work with staff over the next six months to craft a new ordinance that will provide protections across the city.”
The city council changed the liquor license ordinance starting in January 2012, getting rid of a 2,700-foot distance separation between licensed businesses that often brought exemptions to aldermen.
The ordinance change required owners to keep liquor visible but behind a counter, to use an electronic tag system for bottles, to install a video-surveillance system and to enforce a strict no-loitering policy. It also allowed no more than 35 percent of the store dedicated to beer, wine or liquor.
The moratorium would be entirely in Boom’s ward and is a result of a liquor license request last month for a gas station at 901 W. 2nd St. that will be converted into a convenience store. Boom, who is part owner of Mary’s on 2nd, at 832 W. 2nd St., said he can point to six carry-out liquor establishments within a one-block radius.
“It is not healthy to pack especially challenged neighborhoods with that much density of alcohol,” said Boom, noting the return of panhandlers and “unsavory types” to the area.
Alderman Gene Meeker, at large, was surprised to see the moratorium on the agenda of the Community Development Committee that he chairs, thinking it would be on Boom’s public safety committee agenda. Boom pointed out that the license change would come under the zoning ordinance that Meeker’s committee oversees.
Meeker couldn’t say with complete certainty but thinks that one liquor license could be affected by moratorium. He doesn’t expect a unanimous vote of aldermen in favor of the action.
During recent discussion of the liquor license for 901 W. 2nd St., several aldermen thought that free enterprise will determine whether the businesses in that area succeed or fail.
“They seem to be all worked up about it in that particular neighborhood, so they must think it is necessary,” Meeker said. “Some aldermen say they won’t make it because there are too many, and others think there are simply too many.”