EVA calls for package liquor fix

East Village Association president Neal McKnight sent this letter June 19 to aldermen Walter Burnett Jr. (27th), Proco Joe Moreno (1st) and Scott Waguespack (32nd).

The East Village Association recently asked its Board of Directors and general membership to consider whether to reconsider or reaffirm the various liquor moratoria within the boundaries of the East Village Association. After consulting with our Board, our general membership, block clubs, neighboring community groups and local schools, the East Village Association voted both at the Board level and at the general membership level to reaffirm the liquor moratoria. The general membership unanimously ratified the following resolution:

Whereas, the East Village Association is an all-volunteer organization of residents that has served its community for thirty years and has both contributed to and witnessed enormous positive change in the neighborhood, and;

Whereas, EVA supports the development of new legislative tools or license classes that rectify the existing licensing protocol gaps which negatively impact residents living within the community where liquor is sold, and address the needs of businesses that might positively serve the community, and;

Whereas, alcohol sales have been a source of problems such as crime, vagrancy and litter for the community in the past and remain a threat today, and;

Whereas, under the current licensing system, once a liquor license is established, addressing these problems places an undue burden on the community, and; Whereas, liquor licenses should be never be issued simply for the purpose of generating additional business revenue nor to support a failing business, and;

Whereas, the establishment of liquor moratoria were requested by the East Village Association to avoid additional liquor-­‐related problems, and;

Whereas, the East Village Association recognizes that liquor moratoria cannot discriminate between good and bad businesses and prohibits both, and;

Whereas, lifting of a liquor moratoria, even for a trustworthy and desirable business, typically allows business on both sides of the street for two blocks to apply for liquor licenses for a period of eighteen months, and;

Whereas, upon intensive and thorough discussion of the issue throughout the community and within the forum of the East Village Association, there remains a high level of concern over alcohol sales and a consensus that the liquor moratoria continue to serve the purpose for which they were established;

Therefore be it resolved that the East Village Association supports maintenance of the existing liquor moratoria within its boundaries for a period of three years from the date this resolution passes, during which it will not consider any requests to lift moratoria.

The adoption of the liquor moratoria ordinances was part of a carefully calculated and successful plan to create an environment for continued residential development and the establishment of responsible and profitable businesses to serve the needs of the community. The East Village Association believes that the imposition of the liquor moratoria has allowed our community to grow and thrive despite the recent economic downturn. Our community has managed to attract significant new residential and business development not in spite of but because the liquor moratoria allowed such development in an environment free of the negative impacts of package liquor sales.

The East Village Association continues to support the development of new legislative tools or license classes that rectify the existing licensing protocol gaps. We believe that our legislators both in the City Council and in Springfield should take the steps necessary to enact new legislation that addresses the changes in the sale and distribution of package liquors to allow for the development responsible package liquor sales.

In the past your respective offices have regularly consulted with the East Village Association and our neighboring community groups regarding liquor licensing and zoning issues. Although the East Village Association continues to support the liquor moratoria in and around our neighborhood, we do not want to suggest that your efforts to consult with the East Village Association on these and other issues should end. We look forward to working with you and your offices to continue to make our community the best neighborhood in the best city in America.

Please feel free to contact me if we can be of any assistance.
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