SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – An effort to pause new liquor licenses for local businesses in Shreveport is on hold after a spirited debate at Tuesday’s city council meeting.
The city council initially voted in favor of a resolution encouraging the city’s Metropolitan Planning Commission to implement a 12-month moratorium but then agreed to postpone the decision for another two weeks.
“I’m not going to have that plague in my district,” said Dist. A councilwoman Tabatha Taylor, who introduced the resolution along with Dist. C councilman John Nickleson. “You can vote that up or down. Either way, it goes, I’m still gonna fight it not to have a continuation of liquor stores residing in District A.”
Taylor says she wants the moratorium because there are more liquor stores in her district than in any other district in the city.
“We have made these other communities well, vibrant, we’ve given them all the amenities, and yet in black and brown communities, we have to beg and plea for what we want. With the exception of liquor, with the exception of, ‘Let me take your paycheck and go over here and cash it for you.’ No, we need to stop that,” Taylor said.
Some council members understand her frustration but worry the move might send the wrong message to future business owners.
“We have development going on, especially in my district and a few other districts that will require a liquor license,” said Dist. 6 councilman Grayson Boucher. “So I’m just concerned. I don’t want the council, the city, or MPC to ever look like we’re anti-business.”
“I get the package liquor stores,” said Dist. G councilman Jerry Bowman. “I understand and hate to sound like it’s the big guy versus the small guy, but I would just hate to make it seem like Shreveport is closed for business, that’s all.”
The council voted to approve the resolution only to agree to councilwoman Dist. B councilwoman LeVette Fuller’s motion to reconsider moments later.
“I completely understand the issue and I agree that we’ve created a hostile and toxic environment in our poor neighborhoods that don’t have political leverage,” Fuller said. “But I also think there are other ways that we should be looking at this.”
Nickelson expressed surprise at the lack of support for the idea of taking the time to consider the impact of ubiquitous liquor stores in poor communities.
“I thought that the one-year moratorium councilwoman Taylor and I proposed would be an excellent way to facilitate a reasoned study of the problem and come up with solutions to what has been the very prevalent historical problem.
The is now postponed for two weeks.
Consideration of a rezoning application for Honey’s Neighborhood Market to sell liquor, which has been met with some opposition, was also postponed Tuesday.
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