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    Florida Community Halts C-store Builds

    West Palm Beach commissioners have issued a three-month moratorium as it looks at the growth of businesses that sell alcohol.

    WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Leaders in this Florida town are putting any decisions on new convenience stores in certain areas of the community on the back burner for three months.

    The West Palm Beach commissioners recently voted to place three-month moratorium on new convenience stores in the Clematis waterfront district and the Northwest neighborhood district, which includes Tamarind Avenue, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com. The move follows the commissioners' decision to implement a one-year moratorium for new nightclubs in the same area. The decisions are taking aim at establishments that sell liquor.

    "We don't want people selling individual beer and people walking around Clematis," Mayor Jeri Muoio said at a recent commission workshop.

    However, at least one elected official is raising doubts about the plan. Commissioner Kimberly Mitchell questioned the proposal, saying there is already an open container law in West Palm Beach that forbids people from drinking beers in the street.

    "I have not seen or heard this as a problem," Mitchell said. "I'm not sure what problem we're trying to cure."

    But, as the news outlet reported, Raphael Clemente, the interim Downtown Development Authority director, said that people shouldn't be able to buy beer at convenience stores late at night.

    "What happens when people leave clubs and can go to convenience stores or some other type of establishment, buy a six-pack or a single can at 2 a.m.?" Clemente said. "We're allowing the problem to go from one place to another -- a roving alcohol source."

    And while Commissioner Ike Robinson hailed the decision to include the Tamarind corridor in the proposal, the paper said he the overall purpose of the moratorium. "If I'm not mistaken, convenience stores have regulations on the books already that curtail being open 24 hours a day," Robinson said. "If they are open past 12, there's something in the state regulation that says they have to have a bulletproof cage."

    The commission agreed to the three-month moratorium, while city staff studies the issue.


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