Unlimited Access. Try it Today! Your First 10 Days Always $0.99

Readers Respond

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.

    • Why no talk of Gray's disabilities?
      Why no talk of Gray's disabilities?

      According to what I've read, Freddie Gray was exposed to lead in early childhood. This resulted in neurological damage, developmental impacts and learning disabilities. Yet, I have seen no discussion of how disability issues factored into the tragic events surrounding Freddie Gray's death ("Six...

    • Baltimore's fateful choice
      Baltimore's fateful choice

      The police need to make a calculated decision on how to proceed regarding the unrest in Baltimore, given there are risks associated with whatever path they take ("After charges against officers, Hopkins' students call for continued protests, dialogue on Freddie Gray," May 1).

    • Violence is not the answer
      Violence is not the answer

      I wanted to write to voice my opinion on the events that led to the death of Freddie Gray along with the protests that turned violent in Baltimore. In police custody, Gray incurred a spinal injury that later resulted in his death. Watching the news coverage of the videos, it is not clear who is...

    • Mayor failed to acknowledge mistakes
      Mayor failed to acknowledge mistakes

      As a consequence of the recent Baltimore protests and riots, there has been a lot of discussion about the leadership qualities of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake ("Who's in charge?" April 28). There is a fatal flaw in this debate. People are equating the quality of her leadership with decision-making....

    • City's leaders are too inexperienced
      City's leaders are too inexperienced

      I am a little taken aback by what is going on in Baltimore City the last few days. I see the problem as lack of leadership. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has no experience to deal with a situation of this magnitude ("Who's in charge?" April 28). The mayor wants to run the whole show, and she doesn't...

    • Young people are our future
      Young people are our future

      Regardless of our political affiliation it is difficult under the best of circumstances to raise children. We all want our children to become full functioning, well-educated citizens being productive for our families and society.