Board votes against license

Published 3:09 pm Wednesday, September 7, 2016

By Dawn Burleigh

City of Orange Zoning Board of Adjustments voted against a special exception for an off-premise wine and beer sales at 1104 Burton Avenue in Orange during the Tuesday meeting.

The board conducted a public hearing, as required, for the consideration of the special exception, which would have allowed a new owner to obtain an off-premise wine and beer sales license.

The current owner has a license for the sales but before the license could be transferred to the new owner, the special exception needed to be declared according to Director of Planning and Community Development Kelvin Knauf said.

Knauf had recommended approval for the special exception in a memorandum to the board.

Knauf also said the license could transfer with the sale of the business as long as the location continuously sold alcohol, but there was not evidence a special exception had been made for the 1104 Burton Avenue location.

Board member Edward Freiberg asked if a special exception had been made as far back as when the location operated as Firehouse Liquor.

According to Knauf, none had ever been made for the location.

Wynnett Johnson, of Orange, said not allowing the ruling would be a little step in the right direction.

“I don’t think not having one will close the store,” Johnson said. “Alcohol adversely affects families. If it was a more affluent neighborhood, it would be shot down.”

Johnson, living one block from the location, said her home has been broken into once since moving there in 2009.

“It is just not in our best interest,” Johnson said.

Board Chairman Ruth Hancock also questioned if the location was the former Firehouse Liquor.

Orange councilman Annette Pernell also attended the meeting said the sale of alcohol at the location was not what the people want for the children.

“The area has started to clean up and get better,” Pernell said. “I would not drive through that area when I first moved to Orange 16 years ago. This is not what we want for our children. We want to give a better example to our children.”

Pernell also quoted from studies showing alcohol was connected with increase violence.

“Underage drinking is more likely happen from purchases in a store than in a bar,” Pernell said. “It will not behoove people to sell alcohol there.”

The vote to deny the special zoning was 3-1. Ruth Hancock, Edward Freiberg, and Ryan Crowell voted against the approval, while Jim Bean voted for approval.

“It was already there,” Bean said as to why he voted as he did. “It doesn’t look bad and I hate to see businesses close and how it may affect the business now.”