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Richmond council pushes back against liquor store proposed in industrial area

A strip mall with home-reno retail stores is the site of a proposed liquor store.
A liquor store was proposed at unit 140-12571 Bridgeport Rd, in a strip mall close to Home Depot, an area zoned industrial.

Richmond council wasn’t thrilled with the idea of a liquor store application in a strip mall near Home Depot.

The planning committee voted 3-2 against the proposal, citing the fact the zoning for the unit at #140-12751 Bridgeport Rd. is industrial and focused on home renovation stores.

Coun. Carol Day said she would support a micro-brewery in that area, but a liquor store doesn’t fit.

“I do feel that strip mall caters to people who are doing renovations to their home,” she said.

The storefront in question is surrounded by other retail stores, including a mattress store, a lighting store and a tile store but there is also a Starbucks just a few doors down.

City staff recommended rejecting the application because it doesn’t comply with the zoning, but Couns. Bill McNulty and Alexa Loo supported it at the planning meeting.

“Everything there is retail - how is what these guys are asking for not matching what’s already in that strip mall?” Loo said.

Wayne Craig, director of development with the city, pointed out others stores in the area are industrial retail, for example, building material and home renovation supply stores, adding a retail liquor store is “significantly different.”

Joe Erceg, general manager of planning and development with the city, further clarified liquor stores are meant to be in commercial centres where shoppers buy groceries, adding the Bridgeport retail is a “distinct retail area” with limited uses.

City staff also pointed out, in their report to the planning committee, the proposal is contrary to the recently adopted Industrial Lands Intensification Initiative, which seeks to protect industrial land and stop other uses like commercial-retail from eroding it.

The application was made by Van Land Use Consulting on behalf of property owners Heather Berkowitz, Elliott Glassman, Kevin Glassman and Rose Glassman.

The item will come back to future council meeting.