Tonight's council meeting begins at 7 p.m. at City Hall. Should be an interesting one. The would be excitement enough—not to mention the midyear budget update as well—but the real action may be around one item, related to booze.
Adam and Sherry Nick, owners of the at Lake Forest Drive and Regency, are appealing a decision that would allow the near their store to obtain a license to sell beer and wine. They, along with representatives for two other local liquor stores, appealed the city's decision at the commission's Jan. 13 meeting but lost that appeal. Now the Nicks and their am/pm come before the City Council.
The appellant alleges a host of reasons, legal and factual, why the city was wrong in making a finding of "public convenience or necessity" that would allow the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to give the 7-Eleven a beer and wine license. The root of the issue is that there are already three liquor stores in the same census tract as the 7-Eleven, which basically means 7-Eleven must prove that the public would benefit by the store getting a license. The city says it has proven that; am/pm says it hasn't. Read the gory details in the attached staff report.
A city staffer told us that this agenda item may end up holding the record for coming with the most supporting documentation in the history of Lake Forest: nearly 1,500 pages spread over three binders.
Because City Attorney Scott Smith consulted on the city's original decision to OK 7-Eleven's attempt to sell beer and wine, Smith will be sitting in the audience for the duration of the council hearing on the matter. Elizabeth Hull, who usually represents the city's Redevelopment Agency, will instead provide the council's legal advice for the hearing.
- Full disclosure: One time, I had a friend in town, and we went to the 7-Eleven in question in search of a six-pack. We were mildly shocked to find that the store didn't sell any alcohol. So we walked to the am/pm across the way. True story.