Gas stations permitted to sell general grocery items, alcohol

Natalie Arnoldi with one of her gas station paintings GLORIA PLASCENCIA, CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

by Garth Meyer

Gas/service stations in Redondo Beach will now be allowed to sell full-size general grocery items, including beer and wine, after a 3-2 city council vote Feb. 21.  

The change updates an ordinance from 1971.

The council debated the matter, which applies to the 11 gas/service stations in the city. Councilman Zein Obagi, Jr. related his points to Artesia Boulevard.

“We’re going to be bleeding sales tax money, losing out on redevelopment,” he said. 

Councilman Todd Loewenstein reasoned that the change would cause more problems than it solves, due to beer and wine being categorized general grocery items.

Councilmember Laura Emdee said the council should err in support of gas stations and its motivation should not be about revenue. 

Councilman Christian Horvath noted that the original ordinance against the sales is as old as he is, and that he did not support it when it came to the council in 2016, but favors it now. 

“I was still relatively new on the council then, having been there about a year,” he told the Easy Reader Monday. “The longer you’re in, the more you learn, the more you see anecdotally. If alcohol wasn’t included in (the state designation of general grocery store sales) nobody would have a concern. Older, wiser Christian feels like it is not an issue.”

For gas/service station owners who want to sell these items, the businesses first need to be approved for a conditional use permit by the Redondo Beach planning commission.

“You don’t trust the planning commission in this city?” Obagi said. “This is about a general foods sales ban, first and foremost.”

Previously, only snack-sized items were permitted to be sold in local gas stations. Full-size items include a gallon of milk, a large bag of potato chips, etc.

The vote passed with Emdee, Horvath and Obagi, Jr. in favor, Loewenstein and Nils Nehrenheim against. ER


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