Greenfield - It remained an open question as of last week whether the gas station being built as part of the Meijer super store development will be allowed to sell beer and hard cider, due to Greenfield High School being so close.
Greenfield High is on 60th Street about a block south of Layton Avenue where the new Meijer store and gas station are being built at 60th and Layton.
The Greenfield Plan Commission deadlocked 3-3 last weekon a motion to deny the request. The commission sent the request to the common council, but with no recommendation. However the commission did set in motion the process for setting a public hearing. That is likely to be Feb. 22 or March 7 before the common council, which is expected to take action afterward.
Critical to the decision in the minds of some is how the Greenfield School Board and high school administration feel about such sales so close to the school. The main store already has permission to sell liquor. The question involves the gas station that is under construction.
Said no before
Somewhat complicating the matter is the Speedway gas station that also is at 60th and Layton. In about 2004, Speedway (at that time it was Super America) asked to sell beer. The school board objected, even though the gas station was not within the 300-foot perimeter state law sets around schools for banning liquor sales. In the end, the city denied the gas station request.
If the Meijer gas station is allowed to sell beer and hard cider, officials expect Speedway to renew its request for similar sales.
Alderman Karl Kastner said he voted for denial simply because it was too soon for him to decide the issue.
"I'm waiting for input from the school board and I'd like to hear from the high school," he said after the meeting.
Even though he voted against the request, Kastner said the larger point is that Meijer is welcome in the city.
"I'm looking forward to them being a business within our community," he said.
Former Greenfield School Board member and former alderman Don Carlson found himself on the opposite side of the vote.
He voted to allow beer and cider sales as long as Meijer puts safeguards in place in two areas. One would be to institute procedures to ensure that minors will not be able to buy beer or cider. The other is to have safeguards to keep young people from shoplifting the alcoholic beverages, he said.
"Those are my two stipulations," for his support, Carlson said after the meeting, and they could be accomplished.
"They would work, if they were executed properly," Carlson said.
To ensure against shoplifting, the station might have to take measures that sellers not near schools do not, he suggested. Stations already take special precautions with cigarettes by keeping them behind the sales counter, he noted. The Meijer station wouldn't do that with alcohol, but some extra measures might be employed to guard against shoplifting, he said.
Carlson was not on the school board or the common council in 2004 when the Super America/Speedway request was made. He was elected to the council in 2005 and later to the school board.