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Allowing an East End grocery store and delicatessen to serve beer would jeopardize the character of the neighborhood, a state representative and residents argued in letters to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board opposing the issuance of a beer permit.

At its monthly meeting Wednesday, the board denied the permit for East End Grocery & Deli, located at 21900 Arch Street Pike in Saline County, citing a multitude of objections that included 47 letters from area residents, a letter from the Sheridan School District and opposition from numerous Saline County officials.

State Rep. Andy Mayberry, a Republican who lives in the community, said in a May 4 letter to the agency that there are too many establishments within the area that serve alcohol and that the location of East End Grocery & Deli would create traffic hazards.

The location is near East End Elementary School, which creates heavy traffic volume. The grocery's beer permit would add to the duties of a recently hired school resource officer, Mayberry said in the letter.

When the Sheridan School District and the Saline County sheriff's office pooled their resources to fund the new position, they "did not intend nor anticipate that this officer would patrol an off-premises beer location and react to the safety hazards it can create," Mayberry said.

"In this dangerous time in which we live, the safety of our students in the area should be of utmost concern," Mayberry wrote in the letter. "This resource officer's attention should be focused on the students and the activities on the campus, not across the street."

Jerrod Williams, superintendent of the Sheridan School District, noted in a separate letter that the establishment is a close distance from the school facility that serves 445 students in preschool through second grade.

"Student safety is our primary concern," Williams said in the letter. "It may also increase crime in the area."

In a letter of opposition, resident Karen King said such a store "does not fit within the standards" of the community.

"We are a strong, close knit, Christian community," King said. "We have existed for ages without alcohol and most were not happy to see it come in. We are a community of churches, baseball, parades, fundraising car washes, seniors meeting at the local eateries to catch up every day. We are not a community of beer stores. Please help us preserve our way of life."

The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board voted unanimously Wednesday to accept the recommendation of denial by Director Mary Robin Casteel.

In other business, the highest fine out of 63 violations reported to the board Wednesday was levied on Colton's Steakhouse & Grill, located at 33 Access Road in Van Buren. The restaurant was charged $3,000 and placed on a year of probation for furnishing alcoholic beverages to a minor.

"Agents found this restaurant selling to minors on several occasions in just over one year," said Scott Hardin, spokesman for the state Department of Finance and Administration, which oversees Alcoholic Beverage Control. "It is uncommon to have numerous sales-to-minors violations, as in most cases the initial violation will modify this behavior."

Four Walmart stores in the state were fined $500 and each was placed on 60 days' probation for selling alcohol to minors. The stores were the supercenter at 4450 E. McCain Blvd. in North Little Rock, the supercenter on 133 Arkansas Blvd. in Texarkana, the market at 1703 E. Central Ave. in Bentonville and the store at 2100 Arkansas 77 in Marion.

The Movie Tavern at 11300 Bass Pro Parkway in Little Rock was fined $500 and placed on 60 days' probation for furnishing alcoholic beverages to a minor.

Noah's Super Stop 2 at 2620 W. 65th St. in Little Rock was fined $2,000 and placed on six months of probation for selling alcoholic beverages to a minor. Its permit was suspended.

Fenny's, located at 3515 Towson Ave. in Fort Smith, was fined $2,000 and placed on a year of probation after drug paraphernalia was found on the premises.

Curve, a private club located at 1206 N. 11th St. in Fort Smith, was fined $1,000 and placed on a year of probation because the club failed to cooperate with Alcoholic Beverage Control officials during a disturbance.

Metro on 06/14/2018

Print Headline: Board heeds residents, denies beer permit for grocery

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