Alcohol board denies Walgreens’ booze permit application

Marion County's Alcoholic Beverage Board on Monday unanimously denied Walgreen Co.'s request for a permit to sell
alcohol at its store on East Washington Street in Irvington, citing neighbors' opposition.

Earlier, the drugstore chain withdrew its applications to sell alcohol at two other Indianapolis stores.

The four-member board was undecided on a fourth application—for a store at 1505 E. 86th St., near North Central High
School—voting 2-2.

Monday morning, representatives of the drugstore chain said it was dropping plans to sell booze at its 3003 Kessler Blvd.
North Drive location, given its proximity to Cardinal Ritter High School and other educational institutions. It also gave
up on alcohol sales at the 9050 E. 38th St. store because of community opposition.

Neighborhood groups have been up in arms about Walgreens’ plans for months, saying additional alcohol sales could lead
to more crime.

Even so, the Illinois-based chain still pursued a permit for its store at 5460 E. Washington St., which Irvington residents
have opposed. The board voted 4-0 Monday to deny that application.

Walgreens stopped selling alcohol more than a decade ago. But competition, mainly from rival Rhode Island-based CVS Caremark
Corp., is prompting the change in policy.

Altogether, Walgreens wants to sell alcohol in 183 stores throughout the state, said attorney Lisa McKinney Goldner, a lawyer
at Indianapolis-based Bose McKinney & Evans LLP. As of June, when the local alcohol board OK’d applications for 18 Indianapolis
stores, it had received approval for about three-fourths of those locations.

The local board makes recommendations on permit applications to the Indiana Alcohol & Tobacco Commission, which has the
final say on such matters. The  state agency voted June 15 to allow Walgreens to sell alcohol at 14 of the Marion County
stores the local board approved.

Representatives from Drug Free Marion County and the Marion County Alliance of Neighborhood Associations have expressed opposition
to the new alcoholic beverage permits.

“What research shows us is that when you get a high density of alcohol outlets, you increase crime, particularly assaults,”
Nancy Beals, project coordinator for Drug Free Marion County, said in June. “God knows we have a crime problem here.”

 

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