On Tuesday, Jan. 14, the City of Madera Planning Commission approved the demolition of the historical Snow White drive-in, to be replaced by a 3,000-square-foot expansion of the already unsavory Liquor Locker (liquor store).
The Liquor Locker, located at the corner of Lake and Yosemite Ave, is prominently known as a local business that reinforces the negative reputation of the downtown area with on-site consumption of alcohol, drunken loitering, and very few healthy options for the community. Such approval by the City of Madera Planning Commission was even more appalling given the Liquor Locker’s consistent non-compliance with the City’s sign ordinance by draping 4-5 banners advertising malt liquors and other alcoholic beverages on the front of the business.
Further, despite city staff fully informing the Planning Commission that the area exceeds the allowable number of off-site alcohol permits, the Planning Commission approved the permit.
Since that vote to approve the expansion two weeks ago, the Liquor Locker has demonstrated no visible efforts to remove illegal banners, detour loitering or even work with the community to ensure that the new establishment will be towards the mission to revitalize downtown and the betterment of the community.
After conducting a series of studies about the lack of available healthy food options in the area, Van Do Reynoso, MPH, director of the Public Health Department states, “The findings of studies are telling us that an ideal business in that historic location is one that will promote health and safety.”
This new 3,000-square-foot liquor store will be located directly across the street from the family-focused First 5 Family Resource Center, and within two blocks of the John W. Wells Youth Center. Yes, we do need business in this area. But, should we sacrifice the community’s health and wellness as promoted in the City of Madera “Vision 2020” Plan for this?”
Supervisors Max Rodriguez and Rick Farinelli each continue to advocate for healthier and safer communities towards the well-being of families. “The proposed location is simply problematic,” said Rodriguez. “Our community does not need a mega liquor store on this highly visible thoroughfare that is on display for travelers venturing into our community. Further, the correlation between consumption of controlled substances and crime has been proven time and time again. This simply is not in the best interest of our county.”
Chinayera Black Hardaman,
Executive director, First 5 Madera County