Liquor license requests continue in Smoketown, Phoenix Hill - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Liquor license requests continue in Smoketown, Phoenix Hill

East Coast Liquor and Tobacco Outlet is located next to A-Z Liquors (Source: WAVE 3 News) East Coast Liquor and Tobacco Outlet is located next to A-Z Liquors (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith (Source: WAVE 3 News) Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Are there too many requests for liquor licenses happening in the same neighborhoods? That's what residents in Smoketown and Phoenix Hill are worried about and their Metro Councilwoman agrees.

Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith said her office is looking into the issue and making sure that all the steps in the licensing process were followed, including giving proper notice to neighbors. She said ultimately precincts may have to settle it with a wet dry vote if necessary.

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"There have been a lot of liquor licenses applied for in the Smoketown and Phoenix Hill neighborhoods," Sexton Smith said.

Sexton Smith is talking about three new ones in particular. The first two are East Coast Liquor and Tobacco Outlet, located at 535 East Broadway, and A-Z Liquors, located nearby at 540 East Gray Street.

Tonia Phelps, who works with Smoketown Community Development, said of the liquor stores, "This type of business is not a good investment in the people."

Phelps said it's moving progress backward. Sexton Smith said some liquor store owners with multiple locations have a history of allowing graffiti, loitering and criminal activity on the property.

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She said, "This is about public safety, this is about the health of our community, this is about economic development, it's about crime and it's about violence." 

WAVE 3 News did notice graffiti at 535 East Broadway and crime scene tape between the two buildings. Sexton Smith said, "Something that really concerns me, are the amount of children in our neighborhoods and the schools in the area or businesses and non-profit organizations which work with children are right near all of these liquor stores."

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The third request came in early July for the building next door to Webb's Market, at 942 Muhammad Ali Boulevard, where a package liquor store is set to open. The new owner said neighbors don't have to worry. He sent WAVE 3 News pictures of the $60,000 renovation he's already made with new equipment and counters at the market. As for the liquor store next door? 

"They should not be concerned whatsoever,” Webb's Liquors owner Sunny Pander said of the neighbors. “There's not going to be any loitering there, there's not going to be any graffiti and if they have any concerns, they are more than welcome to come to Webb's Market and I can sit down with them and talk to them."

Pander said he wants to be a good neighbor and part of the area’s revitalization, not the problem.

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