Residents battle booze sale at proposed mini mart

Associated Press photo
Associated Press photo

Some Santa Clarita residents who live near the strip mall at Seco Canyon Road and Copper Hill Drive plan to show up en masse at the City Planning Commission meeting on Tuesday night to oppose allowing a proposed new mini mart to sell liquor.

Calling the proposed mini mart at 28028 Seco Canyon Road a potential magnet for riff-raff, Robert Christian and his wife, Cammie, said they hope to bring as many as 40 nearby Saugus residents to the 6 p.m. Planning Commission meeting at City Hall.

The Christians live about 600 feet from the proposed new store. They say two businesses in the immediate vicinity, a Circle K convenience store and a CVS, currently sell alcohol – and that that has already brought problems such as public intoxication, vagrancy, panhandling, trash and traffic that would only be made worse by another establishment hawking hooch.

They also pointed to the proposed store’s proximity to churches, preschools and other businesses that attract large numbers of kids, such as a martial-arts school in the strip mall and a nearby pediatrician’s office.

“To add a third ‘off-sale’ license would mean that three out of the four corners of the intersection would be selling alcohol,’’ Cammie Christian plans to tell the Planning Commission, in remarks made available in advance to The Signal.

“I find this extremely concerning to have so much alcohol being sold where there are so many churches, schools, family oriented business and homes surrounding the intersection.’’

The matter before the Planning Commission would “allow for the sale of liquor and spirits, on up to 10 percent of the total store shelf space,” according to the commission’s agenda. The store covers about 2,300 square feet.

To sell liquor in California, a business must get approval from both the state and the municipality in which it does business.

Samantha Scalise, director of the La Petite Academy, a preschool and day-care facility across the street from the strip mall, told The Signal her school has experienced trash problems and vandalism that she attributed to the existing alcohol sales.

“We get beer cans all over the place, and stuff thrown over our gates,” she said by phone Monday, the sound of noisy toddlers in the background. “We’ve had gas siphoned from our buses, and break-ins to our buses.’’

Scalise said she was concerned about the new store selling liquor, but acknowledged she was “kind of in-between about it” — though she added, she did hear a from a concerned school parent on Monday about the matter.

Robert Christian, a Pasadena police officer, said he’s heard from parents in the neighborhood who have complained of people passed out in the parking lot and panhandlers harassing local business owners.

Cammie Christian, a former Santa Clarita teacher, also plans to tell the commission: “I want to make it clear that I am not anti-alcohol, I am only against excessive and irresponsible selling of alcohol within a condensed, mostly residential neighborhood.”

“I do not see any good reason why a third (liquor-seller in the area) would be a responsible or ethical decision considering the surrounding family community that would be affected.’’

Robert Christian said he and his wife are not opposed to the store opening – just the selling of liquor.

“I’m not out to deny anybody making a dollar,” he said.


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