Des Moines Toughens Store Liquor Rules

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Des Moines Toughens Store Liquor Rules


New regulations that would require grocery stores and pharmacies to derive less of their revenue from alcohol and tobacco sales have been unanimously approved by the Des Moines, Iowa, city council.

The move was provoked by concerns over disruptive, criminal activity reported around some stores which are “infiltrating every part of our city,” Councilman Chris Coleman said, according to the Des Moines Register.

Currently, Des Moines businesses that operate as grocery stores or pharmacies are required to have at least half their gross income come from merchandise sales other than alcohol. Under the new rules, those businesses would be required to have at least 60 percent of their gross income come from the sale of merchandise other than liquor, wine, beer or tobacco products. Stores that do not meet the requirement would have to obtain a conditional-use permit. Businesses could also be required to submit financial information to demonstrate compliance with the rules.

Some residents have argued Des Moines is getting too many liquor stores that represent themselves as small groceries, the Register reported. Authorities have fielded complaints about loitering, illegal parking, drug dealing, violence and criminal mischief outside some stores.

The new regulations are aimed at convenience stores that do not sell fuel and are not expected to affect convenience stores that sell fuel or traditional grocers. The ordinance is intended to give an exception for genuine grocers, not liquor stores, city officials have said. Existing businesses are expected to be grandfathered in and transition to the new rules over time.