Last updated 6:00PM ET
December 14, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
Durango Council Mulls/Denies Alcohol Sales Near High School
(2007-12-19)
(ksut) - HOST LEAD: After an hour long debate over symbolism, alcohol use, and protecting high schoolers, a northside Durango family restaurant lost it's bid for a waiver to serve beer and margaritas last night.
It's the second time in less than two years Durango City Council has refused to grant a waiver to Taco Nayarit.
KSUT's Victor Locke reports.

VICTOR: Taco Nayarit at 2477 N. Main is between 450 and 500 feet from Durango High Schools property line.
State law forbids issuance of liquor licenses to businesses within 500 feet of a school.
The same law allows local governments to grant waivers.
Restaurant owner Mike Schweitz presented a petition to council signed by more than 400 customers seeking the waiver.
His spokesman, Ron Margolis urged approval of the waiver.
MARGOLIS: THERE'S REALLY NOTHING UNWHOLESOME ABOUT THIS PLACE, IT DOESN'T ATTRACT NUISANCES, IT'S BEEN VERY WELL RECEIVED BY THE COMMUNITY AND IT DOESN'T SEEM TO ME LIKE IT CAN CAUSE ANY HARM TO ANYONE.
High School Principal Diane Lashinsky was the only person to ask councilors to deny the waiver.
She told them there's no reason to grant it.
In fact, she told councilors there's a symbolic reason to deny the waiver.
LASHINSKY: EVERYONE AGREES THAT DURANGO HIGH SCHOOL AS WELL AS DURANGO COMMUNITY HAS A PROBLEM WITH UNDERAGE DRINKING AND THE PERMISSIVENESS OF UNDERAGE DRINKING. THOUGH WE DON'T NECESSARILY THINK THAT THE RESTAURANT SERVING ALCOHOL WILL NECESSARILY CONTRIBUTE TO THAT BUT WE THINK THE WAIVING OF THIS LAW SENDS A SYMBOLIC MESSAGE TO OUR STUDENTS WHICH IS AGAINST OUR MESSAGE TO STUDENTS.
Under questioning from city attorney David Smith, Schweitz said he'd accept conditions on a waiver if granted.
SMITH: WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO PUT A SIGN ON THE DOOR OR SOMETHING THAT SAYS NO ALCOHOL SERVED PRIOR TO FIVE PM ON DAYS THAT DURANGO HIGH SCHOOL'S IN SESSION, THAT WOULD SORT OF REFLECT A COOPERATIVE APPROACH ON THAT ISSUE.
SCHWEITZ: I THINK IT'S A GREAT IDEA. I MEAN I THINK IT ADDRESSES THE CONCERNS OF SENDING THE WRONG MESSAGE TO THE COMMUNITY AND TO THE CHILDREN.
Two of five councilors were absent.
Councilor Michael Rendon's moved to grant the waiver, restricting alcohol sales to after 5pm on school days and requiring a sign indicating that restriction be posted on the door.
RENDON: IF WE'RE AS A SOCIETY GOING TO GET THROUGH THIS ISSUE WITH ALCOHOL, PART OF IT IS MODELING RESPONSIBLE DRINKING AND IF THIS IS A NEIGHBORHOOD ESTABLISHMENT, IT'S A FAMILY ESTABLISHMENT, THAT'S WHERE YOUR MODELS ARE, YOU KNOW, YOU HAVE A BEER WITH DINNER, IT'S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD.
Councilor Scott Graham said he couldn't second Rendon's motion.
GRAHAM: I THINK THERE IS VALUE IN SYMBOLISM WHICH IS WHAT PRINCIPAL LASHINSKY SPOKE TO EARLIER. THERE IS A REASON AS TO WHY THIS LAW EXISTS.
Councilor Leigh Meigs declared the motion dead and moved to deny the waiver saying she saw no compelling reason to grant it.
MEIGS: THIS IS JUST ONE OF THOSE SITUATIONS WHERE WE SHOULD ERR ON THE SIDE OF CAUTION, BECAUSE WE'RE TALKING ABOUT KIDS, AND HIGH SCHOOL KIDS WHO ARE VERY INTERESTED IN ALCHOL.
Meigs motion carried 2-1 with Rendon dssenting.
None of the three councilors voting last night were on council less than two years ago, when a similar request was denied, for many of the same reasons.
Afterwards, Schweitz called the vote disappointing saying it's a struggling business and alcohol sales could have provided additional revenue.
SCHWEITZ: IT WOULD HAVE HELPED OUT YOU KNOW BECAUSE NOBODY'S TAKING VERY MUCH OF A PAYCHECK HOME, I'M SURE OF THAT.
From KSUT, Four Corners Public Radio, I'm Victor Locke.
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