Residents of the Harbordale neighborhood say they have fought for years to chase drugs and crime from their streets, so the last thing they need is another package liquor store to encourage loitering.
The neighbors won a victory Thursday when City Council members refused to allow a package store at 2947 Sixth St. S.
Residents said they had nothing against businessman Ike McBride, but opposed his opening another business to sell liquor in a block where there already are two.
"I'm happy not because we defeated Mr. McBride," said Diane Haynes, a real estate agent who lives in the neighborhood. "That has nothing to do with it. It's just that the neighborhood cannot afford to have another liquor store."
Said David McEachern, president of the Harbordale Neighborhood Association: "We've been striving to improve the neighborhood and encourage people to come back. I feel that having another liquor store would be a deterrent."
McBride, who owns several package stores in the area, said he did not understand why council members turned down his request.
He said Thursday that he plans to reopen the site as a bar with exotic dancers.
"I'm going to put the naked girls in there this time and make some money," McBride said.
Dan Schmelzinger, city director of housing and construction services, said the property's zoning and licenses would allow him to sell beer and wine and have exotic dancers _ a business he had there before.
"He can go back to operating his beer and wine establishment or whatever it's called," Schmelzinger said. "He's licensed for that."
McBride said he did not understand why people in the neighborhood and council members would deny him a package store when a bar featuring exotic dancers was the alternative.
"They didn't hear the logic part," he said. "They heard just what they wanted to hear."
McBride said concerns that a package store would encourage loitering and public consumption of alcohol were premature.
"They're just reaching for excuses," he said. "How can they say this is going to happen when it's never been tried? It could have been the best thing that happened to that neighborhood."
Council members voted 8 to 1 against the variance that would have allowed the package store. The lone supporter, Charles Shorter, said he thought it was preferable to the bar, and he thought McBride's business could improve the neighborhood.
Residents groaned at Shorter's arguments. Harbordale is in Shorter's council district.
"I'm sorry they're upset with my vote," Shorter said after the meeting. "But I have to do what I think is in the best interest of everybody. I just felt that Mr. McBride would improve that corner and enhance the area rather than depreciate it."