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BevMo Use Permit - please deny

From: Rich Wipfler <engrwip_at_(domain_name_was_removed)>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2010 23:12:35 -0400

Dear Councilmembers,

As a concerned citizen of Menlo Park I urge you all to deny the application for a Use Permit for Beverages and More (BevMo) at any location in Menlo Park.

 My wife attended the recent Planning Commission meeting at which BevMo's application was considered. While she did not speak out she was very disappointed in the process she witnessed. The Planning Commission abrogated its responsibility to find that there is both a compelling need AND that this business is not a detriment to the welfare of the City of Menlo Park.

For there to be a Use Permit granted our city rules require that both provisions be met. In fact neither of them can be met.

A. Selection and price?
There is NOT a compelling need for another liquor store relative to the retail opportunity. I shopped once at the BevMo in Redwood City less than 3 miles from our house. There is nothing they offer in terms of variety or pricing that I can't buy right here in town already. There are over a dozen purveyors of wine and spirits in and around the Downtown area. B. Sales tax for the City?
Assuming that Menlo Park shoppers don't consume significantly more wine and liquor after a new wine and liquor store opens there cannot be any significant increase in sales tax revenue flowing to the City coffers due to the opening of such a store. C. Employment?
Again, if there is no net increase in alcohol-related retail sales in Menlo Park then any incremental employment at a new store necessarily has to come from a reduction in employment at some other similar store. There cannot be any significant long-term net employment increase.

A chain store such as BevMo does not reinvest in the community it serves. Local stores do. Therefore any locally-owned and operated businesses that BevMo would compete with would lose some business to BevMo and thus have less money with which to support local causes. This is detrimental to the welfare of Menlo Park.

THEREFORE, please carefully consider BevMo's application relative to the rules of the city. The Use Permit process for retail wine and spirits stores has nothing to do with filling vacant retail space and nothing to do with eyesores. BevMo is unable to prove that there is a compelling need for its store OR that its store would not be detrimental to the welfare of Menlo Park. BevMo has to prove both.

I'd like the Council's deliberations to comply with the rules of the City in evaluating the BevMo Use Permit application. If BevMo is either detrimental to our welfare or there is no Compelling Need then you must deny the application.

Thank you for your time and consideration of this important matter.


Rich Wipfler
1045 Valparaiso Ave
Menlo Park       Received on Mon Oct 25 2010 - 20:12:59 PDT

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