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Thread: Planning for the sale of alcohol

  1. #1
    Cyburbian JNL's avatar
    Jul 2002
    Wellington, NZ

    Planning for the sale of alcohol

    I'm doing some work on the connections between planning, liquor licensing and alcohol related harm, and I'm interested in any recent research in this area, or comments on the effectiveness of planning mechanisms in reducing alcohol related harm, in your own experience.

    Examples of how planning can be used to regulate liquor licensing and reduce alcohol related harm include:
    - zoning that prohibits the sale of alcohol in certain areas (e.g. residential zones)
    - conditional use permits affecting the location and operation of alcohol outlets
    - use of buffer zones to set prescribed distances between licensed premises and schools or churches
    - voting a whole city or county 'dry' through a local-option election
    - regulating the density of alcohol outlets (we can't do this directly in NZ)
    - differential rating for particular areas to fund special services such as cleaning and security

    In New Zealand, planning is governed by one piece of legislation, and liquor licensing by another, and despite the intention that they be complementary (a planning permit is required before a licence application is made), councils have been slow to catch on to the connections - not helped by the fact that planners and liquor licensing staff don't typically work closely together, if at all. I've been reading up on the US and Canadian experiences as it seems that they've been using zoning for this purpose for a while, and some research has been done to correlate outlet density with alcohol related harm.

    Any thoughts, comments from experience, or tips on where i can find research? Google wasn't too helpful on this one.

    Last edited by JNL; 21 Feb 2007 at 10:42 PM.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
    Aug 2001
    The Emerald Coast
    The state of California has regulations concerning the "undue concentration" of alcohol outlets. If the state intends to issue a liquor license in an area of undue concentration, the local agency must approve after making a finding of necessity and convenience.

    Here's the rule. Scroll down to Section 23958.4.


    For a couple of years, I was responsible for making the finding of necessity and convenience. Yes, got myself in trouble a couple of times.

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