LICENSE DISPUTE: Des Moines Council Discusses

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Council member Christine Hensley said Des Moines residents have been coming to the city council concerned about an increase in stores able to sell liquor.

“They don`t want to have a liquor store on every corner,” said Hensley, “We`re getting lot of complaints, the neighborhood associations are very vocal about it. They want to see this addressed.”

Hensley said it’s happening in Des Moines because of a change in state law; last year lawmakers approved a measure allowing convenience stores and gas stations to sell hard liquor with a class E license. The council tried to tackle it at the state level, but the bill giving cities the power to deny liquor licenses failed in the legislature. Now Hensley and other council members are trying to take care of it at a city level.

One plan is to look at city zoning laws to limit where stores can sell liquor. Council member Chris Coleman warned over regulation could lead to more problems. However he still voted to look further into the option, along with the rest of the council on Monday night.

“I would just like to see us get to a day that`s better for some of our neighborhoods that are being ravaged by these Second rate third rate convenience stores that in my opinion are selling things that are not good for the kids or people that live in those neighborhoods,” said Chris Coleman.

That wasn't the only alcohol-related issue on the agenda Monday night. The "Oasis" convenience store near East High School wants its liquor license renewed. The request is facing additional scrutiny because owners submitted the application under a different name.

“It was something that was going to slip through until we started asking questions,” said Hensley.

“A name change doesn`t change what the responsibilities are that lies with that. You can change the spots on a cow but the cow is still the same cow,” said Bob Mahaffey.

Council members say they're waiting for more information before acting on the renewal application.