In 2007, the City of Edmonton introduced a rule requiring new liquor stores to be at least 500 metres apart from other liquor stores. The separation distance requirement was intended to curb the proliferation of liquor stores along established commercial shopping corridors, such as Jasper Avenue, Whyte Avenue, 107 Avenue, Stony Plain Road, 118 Avenue and 97 Street.
Following the implementation of the separation distance requirement, concerns were raised that it restricted liquor retailer competition in large suburban commercial sites designed to serve a sizable population.
As a result, further changes to the rule were passed in 2016 to allow more than one liquor store at major intersections in suburban areas. The 500 metre limit remains in place for commercial streets in mature areas of the city. Liquor stores also have to be 100 metres from parks and schools, including in suburban areas.
At the Tuesday March 5, 2019, Urban Planning Committee meeting, City staff presented CR_6497 - Amendments to Zoning Bylaw 12800 - Major and Minor Alcohol Sales in the Downtown Core - Exemptions to Separation Distance Requirements (Item 6.2), and CR_6498 - Implications of Alcohol Sales on Sensitive Uses and Entertainment Districts and Information on Appeals and Regulations (Item 6.3).
As part of these reports, City staff proposed draft amendments that would:
- Introduce a liquor store opportunity area within the Downtown core that to exempt new liquor stores from the 500 metre separation distance;
- Consolidate the Major and Minor Alcohol Sales uses into one new use, Liquor Stores;
- Reduce the parking requirements for liquor stores to align with general retail stores; and
- Design regulations to improve the appearance and safety of liquor stores.
In response the report and presentation, Council directed City staff to:
- As a part of the zoning bylaw renewal, conduct an analysis of regulating concentration of liquor stores, in a comprehensive approach based on land use impact.
- Prepare amendments to Zoning Bylaw 12800, as generally outlined in Attachment 2 of the March 5, 2019, Urban Planning and Economy report CR_6497, except for the liquor store opportunity area, and return to a future City Council Public Hearing.
A report and proposed amendments are tentatively scheduled to be presented back to City Council at the Monday June 17, 2019, Public Hearing meeting.