Davenport looks to limit liquor licenses downtown

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Davenport city leaders are considering a new ordinance that would limit the number of liquor stores downtown.

Earlier this year, the council became concerned with the number of Class E, or hard liquor, licenses downtown. In April, Alderman Bill Boom requested a moratorium on the licenses, meaning there have been no new ones issued since Spring.

"We had a proliferation of them, like four or five requests within a one- or two-block area, and that opened my eyes to what we might face in other places of downtown," said Boom.

On October 1, 2013, the moratorium will expire. City staff have been studying how other Iowa cities handle liquor licenses and have suggested a new distance ordinance be created. The ordinance would require at least a quarter of a mile between carry-out liquor stores downtown.

Wednesday, supporters ranging from Genesis Hospitals to the YMCA spoke in favor of the ordinance.

"With a more dense downtown, we have more residential life, more families and more individuals that need the same protection that they'd be granted anywhere else in the city," said Kyle Carter with the Downtown Davenport Partnership.

The separation requirement would apply to nearly all of the downtown area, from Marquette Street on the west to Sixth Street and Federal on the North, and the Mississippi River on the south.

Managers of liquor stores located just off of Centennial Bridge said they support the ordinance as well, saying there are already too many stores in a small area.

"We just opened a business here, and we already have our liquor license, so we don't really want anybody coming in and competing, because there's already three businesses right around the corner," said Sandip Kandl, manager of Sara Mini Mart on River Drive.

Wednesday, the Community Development Committee recommended the distance requirement move forward. The ordinance now goes to the full city council for a vote.