Eighteen Walgreens stores in Marion County received preliminary approval Monday afternoon to begin selling alcohol despite
opposition from two local organizations claiming increased beer and wine sales could lead to more crime.
The Local Alcoholic Beverage Board of Marion County recommended permits for 18 of the 28 stores for which Walgreens is seeking to sell alcohol. Permit requests for the remaining 10 are scheduled to be heard on Aug. 2.
The board’s recommendations now will be considered by the Indiana Alcohol Tobacco Commission, which could occur on June. 15. If the ATC grants its approval, the 18 stores could begin selling alcohol within about a month, said Lisa McKinney Goldner, a lawyer representing the Illinois-based drugstore chain.
“We were pleased that the board listened to us, that we would be a responsible outlet,” she said.
Altogether, Walgreens wants to sell alcohol in 183 stores throughout the state and has received approval for roughly three-fourths of those locations, McKinney Goldner, a lawyer at Indianapolis-based Bose McKinney & Evans LLP, said.
Among the 18 in Marion County receiving the board’s recommendation was the store at 1530 N. Meridian St., across from a CVS/pharmacy that also sells alcohol.
Representatives from Drug Free Marion County and the Marion County Alliance of Neighborhood Associations expressed opposition to another retail location selling alcohol in the area.
“What research shows us is that when you get a high density of alcohol outlets, you increase crime, particularly assaults,” said Nancy Beals, project coordinator for Drug Free Marion County. “God knows we have a crime problem here.”
One Walgreens store that likely won’t be selling alcohol is at 3003 Kessler Blvd. It is located within 200 feet of a church or school, which violates local zoning ordinances and prevents it from stocking beer, wine and hard liquor.
Walgreen Co. lawyer McKinney Goldner said the permit request for that location will be pulled.