The possibility of restrictions on new liquor licenses and perhaps even a moratorium on issuing them are being considered by Fort Dodge City Council members.
Council members began talking about putting some limits on establishments hoping to sell alcohol when they met in a special session Friday to consider a liquor license application for the New Star Mini Mart, 1923 Fifth Ave. S.
Some of the elected officials and representatives of two liquor stores expressed concern that the city is becoming saturated with places to buy alcohol.
''Do we really want a liquor store on every block?'' asked Councilman Mark Taylor. ''I think maybe not.''
Taylor said he's particularly concerned about putting an additional liquor store on Fifth Avenue South, which has been the subject of the Corridor of Commerce improvement project to upgrade its safety and aesthetics.
''We spent millions on Fifth Avenue South and I don't want to fill it up with liquor stores,'' he said.
Existing FD liquor licenses
There are 85 businesses in Fort Dodge that have liquor licenses, according to the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division. That number includes liquor stores, restaurants, bars and even bowling alleys.
The following 14 stores already have the same kind of liquor license that New Star Mini Mart received Friday:
Casey's, 1230 Third Ave. N.W.
Fareway, 1231 First Ave. S.
Fort Dodge Wine & Spirits, 1513 Second Ave. N.
Hy-Vee Drug Store, 214 S. 25th St.
Hy-Vee, 115 S. 29th St.
Liquor & Tobacco Outlet, 902 First Ave. N.
Karen's Spirits & Wine, 328 Second Ave. S.
Hi-Way 20 Liquors, 1724 Fifth Ave. S.
Kum & Go, 1601 Fifth Ave. S.
Kum & Go, 115 N. 22nd St.
The Station Wine & Spirits, 2324 N. 15th St.
Target, 2910 First Ave. S.
Wal-Mart, 3036 First Ave. S.
Walgreen's, 2503 Fifth Ave. S.
Some of the council members also questioned how Friday's special meeting came about. City Manager David Fierke said the meeting was scheduled after the majority of council members agreed to it. He said Deputy City Clerk Dawn Siebken called all the council members and asked if they would have a special meeting to consider the liquor license.
Action on that license was tabled during Monday's council meeting. Councilman Dean Hill said Friday that he tabled the item because the council didn't receive any information about it prior to Monday's meeting.
Siebken called the council members after she and Fierke met with the store's owner, Mammon Aktar, of Waterloo. Fierke said that during that meeting there was an ''inference'' that the store owner would appreciate it if the process of awarding the license was accelerated.
By the end of Friday's nearly hourlong session, the council unanimously approved a retail liquor license and a cigarette permit for New Star Mini Mart. Those approvals are contingent on the property being approved by the building inspector and fire marshal. The store may open early next month.
Hill said he wants to put restrictions on businesses with liquor licenses in the future. He said he's concerned that they ''promote liquor and and cigarettes to young kids and families.''
''I also feel that we're getting too many liquor stores,'' said Councilman Don Wilson.
He said the New Star Mini Mart is close to Hi-Way 20 Liquors, 1724 Fifth Ave. S., and Emmanuel Baptist Church, 513 S. 19th St. Wilson said he would like to implement rules that limit how close an establishment with a liquor license can be to churches, schools and other liquor stores.
Wilson also said he'd like to implement a moratorium on new liquor licenses, as the city of Des Moines is attempting to do.
Allen Bodady, the manager of Hi-Way 20 Liquors, told the council that, including New Star Mini Mart, there are 15 stores with liquor licenses in the city.
''Our population does not support this many liquor stores,'' he said.
Bodady acknowledged that he was concerned about competition.
''Yes, I'm worried about my profits,'' he said. ''So yes, I'm standing here trying to protect a business.''
Karen French, owner of Karen's Spirits & Wine Ltd., at 328 Second Ave. S., asked the council to consider a moratorium on new liquor licenses.
Councilman Dave Flattery said he's opposed to a moratorium.
''I think we have an oversaturation of banks and credit unions, but I have no problem with it,'' said Flattery, who is the president of CS Bank. ''Competition is good. The best survive in a free market.''
The council took no action Friday other than approving the liquor license and cigarette permit. Fierke was asked to get some information on what the city of Des Moines is trying to do with liquor license regulations.