Monday, July 14, 2008

The battles of booze and land use law …

  Since at least 1856, in which a New York court held in Wynehamer v. People that liquor restrictions can violate the right to property, public efforts to suppress alcohol consumption have often clashed with assertions of land use rights.  And so the debate continues over whether land use law is an appropriate venue to try to curb the social harms of excessive drinking.
  From Pennsylvania come two stories about efforts to dissuade alcohol usage through land use law.  First, in Philadelphia, many are complaining about cartoonish, graffiti-like murals for Colt 45 malt liquor, which conclude with the phrase, “Works every time.”   The complaints have been especially loud because some of the murals for the extra-powerful beverage are placed in neighborhoods that are gentrifying.
   Not far away in Scranton, Pa., a bar and pizzeria owner complains that the University of Scranton, which happens to be next door, is trying to stop him from extending his establishment to include a dance club and expanded bar in the basement.  While a liquor establishment must of course take steps to try to ensure that it does not sell booze to minors, industrious college students often find a way around these efforts, of course …

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