Just so it’s on people’s radar who could be affected in the South Ashland neighborhood and may not have heard, the Ashland Board of Zoning will have a public meeting Tuesday at 2 p.m. in the commissioner’s chambers concerning a change that would allow a package liquor store to go in the lots beside Giovanni’s and all the way to the corner of 29th Street.
That would put it near Ashland Middle School and across the street from two churches, Unity Baptist and Grace Nazarene. Those optics alone make this look like a bad idea. But there’s more. The text amendment being asked to be approved not only possibly puts a liquor store in that space but would make the area from Holt Street to Main on 29th Street available for package liquor stores too.
While they say that’s not likely to happen, who ever thought we’d be debating the merits of having package liquor stores locating in residential areas of Ashland? That’s certainly not how it was painted when Ashland went “moist” in downtown precincts only some four decades ago.
Understanding that Boyd County, including Ashland, voted wet last fall, there’s no stopping more alcohol from coming. But with zoning ordinances that are in place, we still have a say as to where package liquor stores can locate. At least for now.
The South Ashland neighborhood doesn’t need it. Our youth have enough obstacles in that part of town including single-parent homes, poverty, and parents already addicted to alcohol and drugs. Bringing in a package liquor store will not fix any of that and could well exasperate the problem. It’s not a solution to the desperate situation that many of these young children are facing. They must be considered.
If recommended by the zoning board and approved by the commission, it would be a precedent-setting decision since none of the other package liquor stores in Ashland are anywhere close to schools or churches. Any buffer zone would be gone. A package liquor store in that location next to Giovanni’s would be near the middle school and relatively close to three elementary schools. Many young children would be walking by it daily. Is that something parents want? Is that something anybody wants?
Does it benefit Ashland at all? There’s a row of liquor stores a mile down the road on 13th Street. Only so much beer and liquor are going to be consumed. The tax base isn’t growing much, if at all, from adding another store and it’s not bringing in more than a few jobs with it. How is that progress?
Does it benefit your home value if you live in the neighborhood? I’ll answer that question with a question: Would you want to buy a house near the liquor store?
Could it bring an undesired element to the area? Panhandlers will surely follow where a liquor store is within sight. Better keep those windows rolled up at the stop light.
Traffic at that intersection of 29th and Blackburn is already daring. Does adding a liquor store that will have a drive-thru window dumping traffic off and onto Blackburn Avenue all day and night help that situation? It could be a traffic nightmare.
If you live in the South Ashland neighborhood and are opposed to having it changed to allow package liquor stores, then let your voice be heard. Or be silent and live with the dire results that could come from it now and years down the road.
The youth in that area deserve a chance. This only pushes them further down.