WATERLOO — A plan to make it harder to sell beer and liquor in some Waterloo neighborhoods is meeting no resistance.
City Council members voted 6-0 Monday to approve the first reading of ordinance change expanding an alcohol sales overlay district to include the area around the former Byron Avenue Hy-Vee grocery store.
The ordinance, which must pass two more readings to take effect, drew no public comments during a hearing before the vote. It also faced no objections before the Planning, Programming and Zoning Commission endorsed its approval last month.
The measure requires future grocery stores opening in overlay districts to have at least 15,000 square feet to sell beer and liquor. Currently, grocery stores of at least 10,000 square feet are exempt from the alcohol sales restriction.
Community Planning and Development Director Noel Anderson said the proposal was based on a request from council members unhappy with Guddi Mart moving into the Byron Avenue store and selling alcoholic beverages.
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The proposed expansion of Church Row alcohol overlay district adds the 16-block area bounded by Vermont Street and Williston, Kimball and Carolina avenues.
The Guddi Mart and two adjacent buildings are the only commercially zoned property in the expansion area.
Council members in 2012 created four overlay districts in the Broadway Street, Logan Avenue, East Fourth Street and Church Row areas. No new limited or non-limited alcohol sales are allowed in those districts except at restaurants or grocery stores of at least 10,000 square feet.
Anderson noted existing businesses are “grandfathered in” and not affected by the ordinance unless they close for at least three months.
Council members Margaret Klein and Steve Schmitt voted against suspending the rules, blocking the full council from adopting the ordinance changes in one night and forcing votes in coming weeks.