Take 2: Where are Non Conforming Liquor Stores?

Last month, CPHA examined the alarming disparity of non-conforming liquor stores  between the wealthier and poorer districts of Baltimore. Legislation in Baltimore’s zoning re-write, Transform Baltimore, intends to reduce this disparity by asking non-conforming packaged goods stores to stop selling liquor on blocks zoned for residential purposes.

Why does this matter?

Neighborhoods with extreme alcohol outlet density, are generally associated with poorer health, shorter average life expectancy, and even higher rates of  violent crime. An Abell report from January suggests that liquor outlets themselves may cause violent crime.

Some City Council Members, including those representing the poorest African American neighborhoods, have assumed that liquor stores are the only enterprises needed in their neighborhoods, and they have not come out publicly in support of the legislation. However, a mapping by CPHA of these liquor stores against the city’s food deserts of Baltimore tells a different story:

food deserts non conforming_visualNon-conforming liquor stores are spaces for opportunity. In fact, about two-thirds of Baltimore’s Class A non-conforming liquor stores reside in food deserts. City Council should support this legislation, stop supporting liquor proprietors over community residents, and start working to develop sustainable, beneficial, micro-enterprises in these spaces.

The Bill will first be reviewed by the Land Use and Transportation Committee whose current members are:

Edward Reisinger (Chair) – Edward.Reisinger@baltimorecity.gov
James B. Kraft (Vice Chair) – James.Kraft@baltimorecity.gov
Warren Branch – Warren.Branch@baltimorecity.gov
Mary Pat Clarke – MaryPat.Clarke@baltimorecity.gov
Bill Henry – Bill.Henry@baltimorecity.gov
Sharon Green Middleton – Sharon.Middleton@baltimorecity.gov
Rochelle “Rikki” Spector – Rochelle.Spector@baltimorecity.gov

CPHA has played an active role in pushing for a reduction of liquor outlets in Baltimore. Email City Council Members to make sure they vote to reduce alcohol outlet density (without adding amendments that strip the purpose) and join our coalition here.  We will invite you to our upcoming events this summer and ask you to join us for testimony in September.

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Manyi Abangma

Manyi Abangma

This article was written by Manyi Abangma and edited by Michael Snidal. Click here to meet our writing team.
Manyi Abangma

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