Davenport Neighbors Have Convenience Store Concerns - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Davenport Neighbors Have Convenience Store Concerns

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Should there be a limit on stores that sell liquor? It's a question some in one Davenport neighborhood are debating, all because of a proposed convenience store.

Neighbors tell us they're tired of looking at the empty building at the corner of 4th Street and Sturdevant, but tell us no business has been successful here in the past decade. Mario Sanchez says, "It was a laundromat 15 years, ago. They've had a bar there. They've had a clothing store." And now, the proposed convenience store. Angelica Stegens asking, "I mean, why do we need a liquor store down here?"

"I figured I'd try it out," building owner Ramadan Farraj says. He plans to sell, "chips, pop, candy, you know, what I mean? Some meats, bologna, stuff like that, bread." Along with beer and liquor. "It needs it to succeed," he says. "It  has a better chance of succeeding with liquor." And Farraj says he believes it will succeed here. "I've been driving by that building so many times, and it just looks vacant . So it's another vacant building around town. I mean, let's get rid of all the vacant buildings, do something with them."

He's already done something at the Hilltop Grocery on Harrison, Central Grocery downtown and the just opened Chicken Shack at Locust and Iowa. "It's gonna be better. It's gonna be different." But Farraj says what stays the same is that he's a good neighbor. "I don't have a track record of people hanging out in front of my store. I don't have a track record of selling to minors. Look at my businesses. I don't have complaints. I don't have police calls like most places."

     That's why he says he doesn't understand an initial rejection by the Zoning Board of Adjustment. "You know, I was a little surprised, you know, I've always followed the rules." Which could be why members are now reconsidering the request. None of them are talking to us. The City Attorney says they can't. They're part of a quasi-judicial body. He compares them to judges or juries not allowed to speak during trials.

But neighbors are speaking out about their concerns. Sanchez is worried about "people outside asking for change and money, and you know, drinking open bottles of liquor and whatnot, beer, things like that." "If they parked in the alley," Stegens says, "i'd be for it, but I don't want nobody parking in my spot. It's hard enough to get parking sometimes as it is." Meantime, the owner says he doesn't want to add to problems here, instead create solutions. "It's a gamble, but it's worth, you know, give it a try"

The Zoning Board of Adjustment is set to debate the issue at it's meeting Thursday.

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