Sep 13, 2013 2:04 AM by Samantha Ptashkin
TUCSON- After years of debate, it looked like a done deal.
To please midtown neighbors, the El Con Walmart agrees not to stay open 24 hours and not to sell guns and ammo. In return, the store can sell beer and wine.
It seemed neighbors and the retail giant had finally reached somewhat of a common ground and on Tuesday the Tucson City Council voted unanimously not to fight the liquor license.
But just two days later, the Arizona State Liquor Board voted 4-0 not to let the retail giant apply for a liquor license for another year. The board has the final say in the matter. "I thought everybody was on the same page in negotiating," says El Encanto Estates Resident John Jamieson. "It is a little bit of a shock."
Jamieson lives in the neighborhood right next to the Walmart. He's happy the store won't be able to sell beer and wine for at least another year, but he still has some concerns. "I'm not sure how it's going to end up," Jamieson says. "At first it looks good, but it may end up as a problem, or at least another legal battle."
Jamieson fears since all bets are now off, Walmart may try to back out of its end of the bargain.
"I hope the resolution to this is for Walmart to sit down with the neighbors and say it will uphold its part of the bargain until it comes back for a re-hearing," Ward Six Council Member Steve Kozachik says.
Regardless of what Walmart decides, Kozachik agrees the board's decision is a shock and he says it's a slap in the face. "To me it's the people up in Phoenix saying we know better and this is wrong," Kozachik says. "There was no reason for the liquor board to say no."
News 4 Tucson tried contacting Walmart to find out the company's next move. We will let you know what Walmart plans to do once we receive a response.