[btn]By Teri Carnicelli[/btn]

The owners of the Chevron service station located at the southeast corner of 7th Avenue and Bethany Home Road are in the process of updating the station, first built in 1957, with a brand-new, 2,000-square-foot market to better serve their customers. And part of that plan includes beer and wine sales—something that nearby residents have made clear in the past that they do not want.

John Afshar and his family have owned that station, and the vacant lot directly to the south, since December 2000. In 2009 Ashfar filed several requests with the city’s Planning Department to allow the site to be completely redeveloped with a drive-through car wash and convenience store with higher-end packaged beer and wine sales.

The neighborhood rallied together to oppose both the car wash and the liquor sales. Detective Chris Wilson from the Phoenix Police Department’s Liquor Enforcement detail testified as to the criminal element that exists in the neighborhood already because of liquor sales. He said the Phoenix Police Department was opposed to any additional sale of alcohol in the area.

In addition, representatives from the four neighborhoods near the intersection—Vallombrosa, Rancho Solano, Sun View and Rose Ridge—also asked that the use permit for alcohol sales be denied.

In the end, the car wash proposal was denied by the city, but Ashfar did receive the use permit for liquor sales. However, that approval by the city’s zoning administrator was appealed by neighbors to the Board of Adjustment in October 2009, which ultimately overturned the approval.

Now Caspian Chevron is requesting a Series 10 – Off-Sale Beer and Wine liquor license to go with its new mini-market. And neighbors are once again rallying together to oppose it.

The convenience store is planned to have limited grocery items, such as bread, milk and snacks, along with pre-made breakfast and packaged lunch items that can be heated in a microwave, if needed. Ashfar also wants to sell high-end packaged beer and wine, something neighborhood residents have protested, saying that with a Circle K kitty-corner from the Chevron, there is no need to add more liquor sales to the area.

Ashfar emphasized it will be a different product, and therefore a different clientele, than Circle K, which sells, among other items, single cans and bottles of beer. Ashfar said his market will only sell microbrewed or specialty beers and a more sophisticated wine selection, something someone might pick up on the way home for dinner or a social event.

Ashfar contends that he needs those income-generating items in order to help pay off the $2 million loan he obtained for the new mini-market.

The Caspian Chevron liquor license application is scheduled to be heard by the Phoenix City Council on Aug. 28, after two previous postponements. To confirm the item will be voted on at this time, visit phoenix.gov/cityclerk and check the Aug. 28 agenda for the formal City Council meeting at least 48 hours before the meeting.

The City Council has the option to approve, disapprove, or make no recommendation on the liquor license application.