Critics say Premier Wine and Spirits, at 2900 Delk Road near Powers Ferry Road, would be the fourth liquor store in 2 miles, and they don’t want to see any more.
“Within a 2-mile radius we have three liquor stores, a bar and at least four other stores and restaurants that sell beer and wine,” said Justin Tomczak, an east Cobb resident who works in public relations. “This area is at a crossroads as to which direction it will go. Another liquor store will take it in a wrong direction and hurt the already struggling community.”
Two of those stores are not in unincorporated Cobb County but are located in the city of Marietta, giving the county little control over those stores, said Sandra Richardson, business license division manager for the county.
State law mandates a minimum of 500 yards between each package store.
Tomczak took his opposition, along with other area residents, to last month’s meeting of the Cobb County Business License Review Board, which narrowly approved the license with a 3-2 vote. He’ll do it again at 9 a.m. Sept. 10 at 100 Cherokee St. when the Board of Commissioners takes up the issue.
Three appeals have been filed in an attempt to block the license from being granted.
Too close to a school?
Tomczak doesn’t want to see any more liquor stores in the immediate area, but he’s particularly concerned about this store’s proximity to Shreiner Academy, a private school. He says the package store falls within the county’s 600-foot minimum distance requirement.
But that school wasn’t shown on the survey business owners provided with their application for the liquor license.
Surveys done by registered land surveyors are assumed to be accurate, Richardson said. The license review board and board of commissioners can waive the distance requirement.
“If the Cobb County Board of Commissioners allows it to proceed, in violation of Cobb County Zoning Regulations, it will open the door to more liquor stores right outside our schools,” Tomczack said. “Obviously this would set a dangerous precedent for our county.”
Dottie Rachels, a retired Powers Ferry Road resident near the store, agrees.
“My prime concern is that there is no need for an additional liquor store, the area is well served by three others,” Rachels said. “Parking for all of the stores is at a premium already.”
She says nearby grocery stores, like Publix and Kroger, would be negatively impacted by the increase in competition.
Bob Ott, who represents the area on the Board of Commissioners, says the concerns of residents are being heard.
Still, he says it’s hard for the county to be the judge of how many liquor stores in an area is enough.
“We need to consider all the parameters that the county has in place for the criteria and just take a look,” Ott said. “If they don’t meet the criteria, we just need to look at, is it in the best interest of the county to go against the parameters or is it unfairly hampering the property owner to enforce the parameter.”