Neighbors petition against liquor store license renewal - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Neighbors petition against liquor store license renewal

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -- A burglary Thursday morning is just the latest crime in an increasingly dangerous neighborhood. Members of the Church Row Neighborhood Association are trying to put a stop to criminal activities around their homes.

"We live here, we have our office here, and we go to church here," said association president Mary Potter.

Potter is proud of her Waterloo neighborhood. She's called Church Row home for more than three decades. But lately, things in the area have taken a turn for the worse.

"The neighbors are starting to say, what is causing this problem? And one of the things many of them believe is some of the liquor stores are not living up to the way they should be -- being good businesses," she said.

The license for Five Star Snacks and Liquor to sell alcohol is up for renewal this month. And the Church Row Neighborhood Association is asking the city council to say "no".

"When a store is not well managed, and it allows things to go on that are probably not in the best interest of a neighborhood, the neighbors stand up and say -- we want this stopped. And the way to do that is to see their license not renewed," said Potter.

Among the complaints? Underage liquor sales, peddling drugs, and even prostitution.

"We know that if our neighborhood gets the reputation of being unsafe, having a lot of problems, we're not going to have house values that amount to anything, people are not going to be able to sell their properties, you're going to have people afraid to sit on their porches, to walk in their yards, walk down the street. Nobody wants that in a neighborhood," Potter added.

The owner of Five Star, Mohammed Chaudry, said he knows nothing about a petition circulating. He said the store has completed all the necessary paperwork for their license renewal. Waterloo's city clerk's office reports he still needs to file his insurance information, but said it's standard for that to be missing at this time.

Chaudry was unaware the City Council can still decide whether to say "yes" or "no" later this month. He had no other comment on the petition or neighborhood concerns.

Waterloo's Police Chief Dan Trelka and Mayor Buck Clark have both met with the neighborhood association. Trelka said there has definitely been an increase of criminal activity in the Church Row neighborhood. He said the police are doing whatever they can to improve the neighborhood. Trelka noted, nobody knows a neighborhood better than the citizens who live in it. He believes this petition is a good example of democracy in action.

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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