As progress on Little Blue Parkway allows the possibility for additional commercial growth in eastern Independence, the city may possibly amend its liquor license code to reflect the change.

As progress on Little Blue Parkway allows the possibility for additional commercial growth in eastern Independence, the city may possibly amend its liquor license code to reflect the change.

Within the last several months, the city reached its limit for the number of retailers who could sell liquor in the original package allowed by code. City staff members state this could possibly restrict future businesses wishing to locate in eastern Independence. However, a reconfiguration of the city’s population recently allowed for an additional three package liquor licenses, according to Terry Hartwig, the city’s liquor license manager. 

City staff recommended several code revisions for the Independence City Council’s consideration at Monday night’s study session. Council members will likely consider the changes as part of an ordinance at a future meeting.

Recommendations included the following:

 Combining the number of limited intoxicating liquor in the original package licenses, limited malt liquor and light wine in the original package licenses and limited 5 percent beer in the original package licenses to one category of package liquor licenses available for issue;

 

 Basing the number of limited package liquor licenses available on a population limit of one license per 4,900 residents, which would allow the city to issue up to 25 limited package liquor licenses; and

 

 Classifying the existing 11 package liquor stores as having limited package liquor licenses since the stores have more than 90 percent of liquor as their gross sales. According to city staff, this proposal would allow 14 additional limited package liquor licenses available for issue. 


District 3 Council Member Myron Paris said he would like to see an additional grocery store located in eastern Independence and spoke favorably toward proposed code changes.

“We sure need one,” Paris said. “If that would be any help as an incentive, that would be super.”

City Manager Robert Heacock said the recommended changes show a shift in businesses that now want to sell alcohol as part of their product mix, including grocery stores, hotels, big-box retail and convenience stores.

Neighborhood residents will still be allowed to provide feedback as council members review liquor license applications, Heacock said. He said businesses like grocery and convenience stores that also sell alcohol are less invasive in communities because that isn’t their primary sales product.

“When those limits were initially set up, we were dealing almost primarily with actual liquor stores – a vast majority of their sales was related to alcohol,” Heacock said, “but what we’ve seen in the last 20 years is a proliferation of convenience stores and grocery stores where their business models suggest that they need to have a wide range of product in order to appeal to their customer.”