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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Fort St. John City Council defeated a motion that could have changed current zoning to include a liquor store in a residential neighbourhood on the city’s northeast side. Instead Council voted to ask the developer for a zoning change that would allow a liquor store to operate at the lot on 112 avenue.

The owner of On The Rocks made a request to be able to add a liquor store at a lot on the corner of 112 Avenue and 86 Street. The request to add a liquor store would be part of a larger development that would have also included a convenience store. The property, which is currently zoned for C-1 Neighbourhood Commercial is within 300 metres of the Christian Life School, 100 metres of the Fort St. John Hospital, and 50 metres of a proposed school site, and is also within close proximity of residential homes and Surerus Park.

The video below is from the Council Discussion on October 10, 2017.

According to the report presented to Council, the biggest concern over the location is that a liquor store is not a permitted use within the Neighbourhood Commercial (C-1) Zone, therefore this proposal does not conform to zoning. This zone permits uses in line with: convenience store, daycare centre, health services facility, neighbourhood pub, personal service establishment, restaurant and retail uses such as baker, coffee shop, etc.

The intent of the C-1 zone is “to permit small scale commercial uses in and near residential neighbourhoods that provide convenience for local residents”. The proposed use of “Liquor Store,” is defined as “the retail sale of beer, wine and liquor products for consumption off-site,” and is only permitted within the C-2 Downtown Core, C-3 General Commercial and C-4 Service Commercial zones.

Councilor Trevor Bolin said, “In five to ten years I think you are going to see more liquor stores inside of convenience store. A lot of neighbourhood parcels in Alberta include convenience stores, small liquor stores, car washes and gas stations.”

Acting Mayor Bryon Stewart said, “I don’t see any other type of building going into that empty lot such as a house, and it isn’t across the street from a high school so I don’t see a problem with it.”

Councillor Trevor Bolin said, “I believe that Panorama of Whisper in the Winds, businesses in the area will have their say through the public process.” The previous route doesn’t give us the option for the public imput. This would give the proponent the opportunity to a general commercial or service commercial zone for the liquor store.”

Council defeated the current proposed zoning amendment. Then immediately voted in favour of a resolution to ask the proponent if he is interested of going through a zoning change that would allow for the construction of liquor store.

Here is a copy of the full report presented to Fort St. John City Council.

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