Unlimited Access. Try it Today! Your First 10 Days Always $0.99
News Opinion Readers Respond

Liquor store zoning no answer to abuse

The Sun's recent article on the use of zoning laws to limit liquor stores highlights a complex issue ("Zoning should be used to limit liquor stores, Hopkins study says," April 12). We support a community's right to decide for themselves what type of businesses and services are located in their neighborhoods, and we believe that alcohol licensing regulations should be enforced to deal with those who are not in compliance with the law. These are local issues that should be discussed and decided by all members of the community, including local hospitality businesses.

However, the sweeping broad-brush approach advocated by David Jernigan in his "Action Guide on Regulating Alcohol Outlet Density" is not a panacea to reducing alcohol abuse, is not supported by the evidence and oversimplifies the issue.

It is simplistic and misleading to think that arbitrarily reducing the number of alcohol outlets will decrease alcohol abuse. The determinants of alcohol-related harms are varied. There are many social economic, demographic, cultural and biological factors that must be considered. This is the case in states throughout the country.

Many cities, including Baltimore, choose to concentrate their alcohol outlets to create thriving, social entertainment areas that attract tourists and boost local hospitality businesses. Beverage licensees are frequently the first business owners in areas like the Inner Harbor, where neighborhood revitalization is carefully planned to include entertainment, restaurants, transportation and public safety. By suggesting that a package liquor store or tavern cannot successfully coexist on the same block with a residential building is to overlook the hundreds of successful mixed-use developments in urban areas throughout the country.

There are also cities nationwide where the local community leaders, local law enforcement and local hospitality businesses have worked together to reduce abuse in their surroundings without resorting to a one-size-fits-all approach of reducing the number of outlets across the board.

The goal should be to reduce alcohol abuse not drive the problem somewhere else. Indiscriminately shutting down law-abiding businesses that are a part of the local economy is not the way to solve problems associated with alcohol abuse.

John Bodnovich, Bethesda

The writer is executive director of American Beverage Licensees.

  • Text NEWS to 70701 to get Baltimore Sun local news text alerts
  • Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
    Related Content
    • Reining in a neighborhood nuisance

      Our view: A new study validates Baltimore's plan to use the zoning code to reduce the number of liquor outlets

    • Reducing liquor outlets won't curb drinking
      Reducing liquor outlets won't curb drinking

      Using zoning laws to limit alcohol outlet density won't stop the heaviest drinkers from consuming alcoholic beverages ("Government should use zoning to limit liquor stores, Hopkins researchers say," April 11). Such a solution oversimplifies the problem of alcohol abuse.

    • Big charter school operators can stymie innovation rather than promote it
      Big charter school operators can stymie innovation rather than promote it

      It may be worth asking teachers in Baltimore City charter schools how they feel about Gov. Larry Hogan's proposed charter expansion legislation ("Senate panel rewrites Hogan's charter school law," March 26).

    • In opposing charter schools, Democrats show their true colors
      In opposing charter schools, Democrats show their true colors

      In gutting Gov, Larry Hogan's rather modest proposal to expand charter schools, Maryland's Democratic leadership has again proved its hostility to quality public education, especially for the black poor ("Senate panel rewrites Hogan's charter school law," March 26).

    • Why so little about Bergdahl charges?
      Why so little about Bergdahl charges?

      The Baltimore Sun has given little attention to the Army's announcement that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl would be charged as a deserter ("Bergdahl charges revive questions over 'Taliban 5' prisoner swap," March 26).

    • Let's discuss U.S. economic decline
      Let's discuss U.S. economic decline

      The commentary, "Why China thrives as the U.S. declines" (March 26), is especially poignant. In my opinion, it deserves a broader discussion on the editorial page and I believe it should be reprinted on the front page of The Sun as well.

    • Fracking's risks are 'considerable'
      Fracking's risks are 'considerable'

      I applaud your March 23 editorial endorsing a moratorium on fracking in Western Maryland ("Fracking deserves a pause," March 25). My considerable research reveals fracking in Maryland imposes severe and permanent environmental risks with questionable to negative long-term economic impacts to...

    • Bergdahl and Obama's poor decision
      Bergdahl and Obama's poor decision

      It frightens me to no end that President Barack Obama doesn't possess the common sense to differentiate between dereliction of duty and heroism in the Bowe Bergdahl case ("Bergdahl charges revive questions over 'Taliban 5' prisoner swap," March 26).

    Comments
    Loading