Alexandria Up In Arms About Alcohol

Possible Changes in Va. Liquor Sales

By Caitlin O'Brien
|  Tuesday, Nov 9, 2010  |  Updated 11:30 AM EDT
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Alexandria Up in Arms About Alcohol

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Legislation regarding liquor sales has some in Alexandria feeling uneasy. Officials are nervous that Gov. Bob McDonnell’s plan to privatize liquor sales in Virginia. The apprehension is that government would lose the power to control how and where alcohol is sold, according to the Washington Examiner.

State government has had a monopoly on liquor sales for 75 years in Virginia. While it’s not clear if the General Assembly will adopt McDonnell’s plan, city staff in Alexandria have advised City Council to contest privatization unless the city has a say in where liquor stores can be built and what kind of alcohol each can sell, the Examiner reported.

The major concern is that stores that are only authorized to sell beer and wine would be able to carry hard liquor.

Mark Flynn, Director of legal services at the Virginia Municipal League, says that is a possibility. Currently, the state is in charge of the sale of hard liquor and localities are only authorized to see beer and wine.

“If an existing business has the right to sell beer and wine, they probably would have the right to sell liquor,” Flynn said.

The Alexandria Council will meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. to discuss the proposal. Mayor Bill Euille expects the council will uphold it.

“Absent of those types of powers, businesses can pretty much come in and do as they will,” Euille told the Examiner. “But we have to be able to control the businesses and provide a high quality of life to our residents and the city as a whole.”

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