Circle K alcohol use permit upheld despite appeal from community members

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(Courtney Pedroza/DD)
The Board of Adjustment rejected an appeal from community members to suspend Circle K’s use permit, which is required for the proposed store to sell alcohol because it is near a residential area. (Courtney Pedroza/DD)

The Board of Adjustment voted to uphold Circle K’s alcohol use permit application on Thursday.

The board rejected the appeal of Thunderdome Neighborhood Association President Sean Sweat and other community members to suspend the use permit on Circle K’s proposed new store on the southeast corner of Roosevelt and Seventh streets.

In addition, the board removed two stipulations from the 13 included in the original decision by the zoning adjustment hearing officer. The board removed the stipulation that controlled the alcohol content of goods sold at the new Circle K due to concerns from city staff that the measure would be hard to enforce. It also removed the stipulation concerning the sale of broken packages of alcohol because that is enforced by the state.

Circle K needs a use permit to sell alcohol in its new location because the proposed store is within 300 feet of a residential area.

Those both in opposition and in favor of removing the use permit brought forth many of the same arguments presented in previous hearings.

Those against the new site’s use permit believe the larger size of the store will lead to increased alcohol sales and alcohol-related crimes.

“If Circle K gets this use permit, then the surrounding neighborhoods will see significant detriment in terms of crime, litter and alcohol availability,” Sweat said during the hearing.

Bryan Bazley, a board member of the Artisan Village Homeowners’ Association, also spoke during the meeting as part of the opposition.

“There is a visible lack of maintenance,” Bazley said. “That creates an environment that is not good for property value and … where their patrons consume the alcohol they purchase on the property and in surrounding properties.”

Circle K representative David Cisiewski pointed to the work the company has done with neighborhood organizations and successes other stores in the Valley have had in combating crime.

“The denial of the use permit assures nothing will change for the betterment of the surrounding area,” he said during the hearing.

Rev. Jarrett Maupin also spoke in favor of the use permit, saying Circle K had addressed the neighborhood’s concerns with store security.

“People have a strange idea of what the neighborhood is and I’m very saddened to hear what some of my neighbors to the west have to say,” Maupin said during the meeting. “This is an opportunity for us have a larger, cleaner store.”

Sweat said he was disappointed in the board’s decision, citing concerns in Circle K’s previous interactions with the community.

“I’m not saying they won’t follow through,” Sweat said. “There has been precedence in past where they have made agreements with communities, particularly some of our communities in downtown and gone back on them. So there’s not necessarily a good track record.”

Bazley expressed similar concerns.

“The burden is put on the community to actually enforce what a store sells,” he said. “At this point in time … the damage is already done. They already get their license to be able to sell whatever they like.”

Sweat said that further legal action is not out of the question.

“We haven’t talked about the next step yet, but we know that that’s a possibility,” he said.

Contact the reporter at agnel.philip@asu.edu

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