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A Northeast Fresno Johnny Quik can now sell beer, wine, and distilled spirits after a 6-0 decision Thursday by the Fresno City Council.

The convenience store, located at East Nees and North Cedar avenues, was initially denied the license by the Fresno Planning Commission. Owner George Beal appealed to City Councilmember Garry Bredefeld, who agreed to take another look.

“In this case, I’m comfortable moving forward,” said Bredefeld. Other councilmembers said they also were comfortable allowing a liquor license in Bredefeld’s district because it has the lowest saturation of them in Fresno.

portrait of Fresno City Councilman Garry Bredefeld

“In this case, I’m comfortable moving forward.” — City Council Member Garry Bredefeld

Near a Daycare Center

A daycare center is about 120 feet away from the convenience store and that spurred questions from councilmembers.

The Planning Commission originally denied the application in February. Part of the denial decision reads in part, “The subject establishment is located approximately 118 feet from an existing preschool/daycare (Nancy Fuller Children’s University), which is less than the 500-foot minimum requirement. In addition, it is located within 500 feet of two existing off-sale establishments (Rite Aid and Chevron).”

In the end, a lack of objection by the daycare center weighed into Thursday’s verdict.

“They got buy-in from the community, especially the daycare, which is significant,” said Councilmember Mike Karbassi.

Photo of Mike Karbassi

“They got buy-in from the community, especially the daycare, which is significant.”City Councilmember Mike Karbassi

Liquor License

In the case of the Johnny Quik, the license is coming from a closed Rite Aid in Kerman.

The council in 2019 passed an ordinance — the Safe Market Neighborhood Ordinance — requiring that new businesses wanting to sell liquor in Fresno must purchase an existing license rather than add another.

Johnny Quik was approved for a Type 21 license, which allows for the sale of beer, wine, and distilled spirits. The store will now retire its Type 20 license restricted to beer and wine sales.

“We have had a lot of requests from our customers,” said Beal. “We have to change with the times and the requests of the community.”

Crackdown on Liquor Licenses?

The state of California’s recommendation for liquor store licenses is one for every 2,500 residents. In Fresno, it’s one liquor license for every 1,000 residents. And, in south Fresno, it’s one per 300 residents.

Council President Miguel Arias previously told GV Wire℠ that the Safe Market Neighborhood Ordinance was a good start, but needed more teeth.

“So that, you know, a council or a planning commission can just, you know, completely, create an exemption,” Arias said last month.

In the coming months, several committees such as the airport district and planning commission are looking at ways to make the ordinance permanent.

The council is expecting to vote on a permanent ordinance at its Sept. 17 meeting.

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