Council members aim to rid Fresno of unwanted title: 'drunkest city in America'

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
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The plan is called the Responsible Neighborhood Market Act and the whole goal is to eventually cut the number of liquor licenses in half in the city of Fresno.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- With startling statistics on display and claims Fresno is not only the drunkest city in America but also second in the nation in liver disease deaths, three council members, along with business leaders and students said getting alcohol is way too easy in many parts of the city.

"We found that out of 20 liquor stores that were within a one-mile radius of our school," said Sunnyside High School senior Lily Vang. "11 stores advertise alcohol on storefronts and had over 15 percent of alcohol advertisements."

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"We as business people, we are not only here to make money, but I tell every one of you that we raise our kids here," said Andy Chhikara. "They are born here and raised here, e want to set a good example for our kids."

Council members Miguel Arias, Nelson Esparza, and Luis Chavez want to make alcohol less accessible.

"The state of California says that we should have one off-site liquor license for every 2,500 residents," Arias said. "We have one for every thousand and in some parts of Fresno one for every 500."

RELATED: Proposed city ordinance would cut Fresno liquor retailers in half

"But I think what we have today is a good start to a policy that will over time gradually remove a lot of the public nuisances that we have in our community," Chavez said.

The proposal would require environmental assessments, studies and approval by the planning commission before the Fresno City Council ever votes on the change in policy.

This process for a new business to get a new license under the proposal would involve purchasing a license that's in good standing and retire it and then get a license to operate it.

Implementing the plan could take 6 to 8 months.