Police object to new liquor store on 119th Street

Two businessmen want to open a liquor store on Northwest 119th Street, but Miami-Dade police are recommending that the store be rejected.

Owners Jasbir Singh and Kamaljit Kaur of 119th Liquor Store Inc., want to open a liquor store next to a convenience store they own at that address. It will not be a new building, but rather, the businessmen will use a section of the convenience store to sell liquor.

The North Central Community Council will consider the liquor store proposal at 7 p.m. on Oct. 23 at Henry E.S. Reeves Elementary School, 2005 NW 11th St.

How a place of business affects its surrounding community is a component of county zoning rules, to which the owners are seeking exceptions.

County zoning rules say no two stores that sell alcohol can be within 1,500 feet of each other, and there is a liquor store at 11300 NW Seventh Ave. To receive an exception, the local zoning board must believe another liquor store would not have a negative impact on the community and the county.

The owners say the store, at 800 NW 119 St., into a one-stop shop for residents. They can buy their various grocery needs at the convenience store and take a short walk over to the liquor store.

“I think it would bring more jobs to the community,” Singh said to the Miami Herald.

But police say that when more people go to an area to buy liquor, traffic increases, there may be intoxicated people in the area and there may be more calls for police.

Police argue that while they have enough personnel to respond to more calls, a liquor store would not benefit the neighborhood.

Singh said he and Kaur’s store would not have that big of an impact to the area because there are other liquor stores.

“It won’t make that much of a difference,” Singh said.

In the area from Northwest Sixth and 11th Avenue, and from 123rd Street to 115th Street, police handled 15 reported assaults, 15 robberies, 14 incidents of vandalism and 15 narcotics investigations in 2012. There were also four incidents of commercial burglary.

Taking all this into consideration, county police Director J.D. Patterson is recommending that the request be rejected.

“The surrounding neighborhood does not lend itself to benefit from this request,” Patterson wrote in a memo to planning officials.

Meanwhile, county rules say that liquor stores cannot be established within 2,500 feet of a church or school. There are no schools within 2,500 feet of the location, but there are 11 possible churches, according to the owners’ application for an exception to the rule written by their attorney.

“Many of these churches appear to be abandoned or not open for religious services,” wrote John Herin Jr., of the law firm Gray Robinson.

Pastor Nadet Jean Baptiste of Alabanza Evangelical Baptist Church, at 11500 NW 12th Ave., which is 2,266 feet away from the liquor store location, said the store opening was “OK” to him. Although Jean Baptiste said he had no issue with the store opening, he also added that he “had no control.”