On Tuesday, the Orange County Commission received a briefing on the possibility on reducing the distance between alcohol package dealers. The initiative is being pushed by the Independent Spirits in association with other industry organizations.
The current ordinance in unincorporated Orange County prescribes 5000 feet between alcohol dealers. The suggested distance by the county would reduce the distance to 2,500 feet for newly licensed dealers and 1,250 feet for existing dealers. The ordinance would be enacted one year from it’s approval date.
There is currently a lottery system in place to award alcohol licenses. The ordinance is not expected to effect the overall number of dealers in an area.
The ordinance would not be effected by the recently passed “liquor wall” legislation that was passed at the state level, that will allow grocery stores to sell hard liquor in the same facility as the rest of their products.
No action was requested by the board. District 3 Commissioner Pete Clarke wanted a study done of municipalities similar to the size of Orange County to gain more information on the topic.
There was also a concern of elevated crime in the area but county officials recognized that it could be difficult to tie offenses to alcohol consumption to the proximity to nearby dealers. Commissioners still believed the information could be useful.
“It does have an impact on crime.” said District 6 Commissioner Victoria Siplin “We can drive around and see the correlation between the crime and the demise of a neighborhood. Even though they may not have specific stats, we can visually see the difference.”