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Planning Commission Denies Alcohol Sales Use Permit to Shell

The vote was unanimous against a permit with Commissioner Peter Tiernan abstaining because he lives near the gas station located on Novato Boulevard and Raposa Vista.

There was no support from the 18 public speakers before the Planning Commission last night as it reviewed the application for an alcohol sales permit for the on Novato Boulevard, according to an article in the Marin Independent Journal.

Pam Drew president of the Novato Community Alliance said they began mobilizing a grassroots effort to block the sale of alcohol beginning in November. She said it started a letter writing campaign and flyers that were distributed to neighbors within a 1000 feet of the Shell station.

Members of the Novato Blue Ribbon Coalition for Youth also spoke out against the proposed use permit for sales of beer and wine, according to the article.

It was recommended by Novato city staff that the off-site beer and wine sales at 2085 Novato Boulevard be rejected because of a moratorium in place for issuances of off-site licences in Marin, unless a determination of "public convenience or necessity" is made by the city.

Novato Blue Ribbon Coalition for Youth pointed to four locations to buy alcohol in the Novato Square which is adjacent to the gas station.

Approval of the permit would have set in motion a Design Review request by the property owner to demolish the current location of the pumps and convenience store to create a two-story structure for office use, larger convenience store and the off-site beer and wine sales.

The staff report noted that the property owner has indicated publicly that if the use permit was not granted that he would not proceed with the Design Review request.

The Novato Blue Ribbon Coalition for Youth applauded the decision in a statement on its website and said they will bring their concerns before the Novato City Council if the ruling is appealed by the applicant.

Drew also was pleased with the Planning Commission's decision.

"I think the unanimous decision was really remarkable and wonderful. There is a direct correlation between the concentration of sources for alcohol in an area and the rise in problems with alcohol in general and binge-drinking among youth in particular," she said in an email.  

"The concern that almost every speaker expressed for the youth of our community genuinely boosted my faith and confidence in our town as a good place to be."  

Jan S March 07, 2012 at 03:55 PM
I don't think any gas stations should sell alcohol. It just encourages drinking and driving, and puts EVERYONE at risk. People need to plan better if they need alcohol when they arrive at their destinations and bring it before they start their trip. Also, gas station attendants are busy enough without having to check id's too!
Danny Skarka March 07, 2012 at 04:31 PM
It should be illegal to sell alcohol at gas stations, but it's not. On that point, the owner has a just cause. However, his decision to go forward only with a liquor license gives me pause in supporting him. While alcohol sales have a 30% profit margin, he could do well selling grocery items. His lack of interest in this approach indicates to me that he has no interest in the community, but only in the much larger, much easier, profits.
Marla March 07, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Good for the planning commission! The sale of alcohol there is inappropriate and unecessary.
Jenni Chalmers March 07, 2012 at 04:48 PM
I agree - good for them!
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr March 07, 2012 at 04:59 PM
I have always wondered why it was such a good marketing scheme to sell gasoline and alcohol at the same establishment. It is still illegal to drink and drive, isn't it? Why make it easy to pop that first beer as soon as you get behind the wheel when it would be so convenient?
Tina McMillan March 07, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Not allowing alcohol to be sold at the Shell is an excellent decision. The fact that the owner would only expand if alcohol sales were allowed is an insult to the neighborhood. The Square does not need increased alcohol sales. It does need to be revitalized. The Square currently resembles a blighted property. This is unfair to shop owners and neighbors. The Square was a vibrant center while Roger Wilco was its anchor store. When Roger Wilco sold out to a large chain the Square began to experience neglect. Recently shops have had to close due to inappropriate rental increases. Who owns the Square Shopping Center? Why is the city allowing them to turn it into a blighted property? Is the Square owner the same as the gas station owner? What can be done to force the owner of the Square to revitalize the property? Other small local shopping centers have had to replace large anchor stores and update their exteriors. Is the owner of the Square waiting for rezoning to occur so that it can be developed like the Marinwood Shopping center as a combination of affordable housing and retail with money from the state and federal government supplementing private funds and reduced tax liability attached to ah units? http://www.pacificsun.com/news/show_story.php?id=4035
Mark Burnham March 07, 2012 at 05:08 PM
you are correct marla. next order of business is to get the diablo ave 7-11 liquor license removed. there is not a single spot in novato where more people wander around in their pajamas with open containers of beer and wine as they cross the street to their affordable housing.
Christine March 07, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Hey Mr. highway...Take your chatter elsewhere. You add absolutely nothing to the any Patch discusions/opinions. Maybe you should take your own advice and think before you speak.
Eleanor Sluis March 07, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Thank you, Planning Commission. Why not sign a petition to improve this blighted shopping center? There are over 3-5000 people who live nearby. This is an entrance and exit to Novato and for thousands of tourists. A delightful shopping center at the Square would improve city revenues and show teenagers that we care about the environment and want to take care of our town. Since we need commercial enterprises, this is not a place to increase housing. The problem appears to be the Federal Govt. connecting transportation funds with housing to use our tax dollars to subsidize building. The state formed the 17 metropolitan areas to comply with the Federal Clean Air and transportation laws. Our supervisors do not seem to support those who want lower and balanced density in neighborhoods. Instead, our supervisors and state representatives appear to hope that the public will not make the connection that federal funding for state and local revenues are given as subsidies to enterprises, banks, and large corporations. The Chambers of Commerce receive subsidies from our hotel taxes and thus have more leverage for lobbying for their enterprises. What are the consequences of not receiving federal tax dollars for new buildings?
Tracey Ruiz March 07, 2012 at 10:59 PM
Correction: The Marin IJ previously said that members of the San Marin Compatible Housing Coalition spoke out against the permit. Novato Patch has confirmed that they did not formally speak or take a position on this issue. Additions to the article include the grassroots efforts of the Novato Community Alliance which spearheaded a letter-writing campaign and flyer distribution.
Edwin Drake March 08, 2012 at 06:36 AM
Let the Chamber of Commerce fund themselves! Novato taxes should go into the general fund. Otherwise, a contract should be let and competitive bidding done for an agency to work on vistors and tourism for Novato. Why give this away to the Chamber. They do a lousy job anyway and there are LOTS of hungry marketing firms that would LOVE a shot at this.

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