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Liquor license for Tobacco Hut near church discussed again

Posted: 5:28 PM, Jan 08, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-09 23:33:23Z
nebraska liquor control commission at ne state capitol

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) -- — Judgement day for a convenience store trying to get a liquor license for a 3rd time.

The Nebraska Liquor Control Commission hears arguments as to why the Tobacco Hut at 62nd & Ames Ave. should get a liquor license even though they're within 150 feet of New Rising Star Baptist Church.

The commission denied their application twice, but this year Tobacco Hut received a recommendation from the Omaha City Council if they'd only sell wine and beer with single cans at least 24 ounces.

Local parishioners and neighbors say safety is a huge issue, and that there are enough places to purchase liquor in the area already. Plus, they're worried about the cars that drive through the church parking lot to get to the Tobacco Hut. They say children have almost been hit in their own parking lot.

The owner's put a deterrent in their drive-thru, but the pastor says it's not working.

"So, I think if they really wanted to make a difference instead of spending that money on chains and signs they could've just closed that exit and it would've been a done deal," said Pastor John Lucas with New Rising Star Baptist Church.

The business owner says they have 32 surveillance cameras, a locking door system, and a zero-tolerance policy for selling to minors. He says the traffic barriers have cut down on the problems and doesn't anticipate more customers but says alcohol would complement what they do.

“I wasn't or am not planning on trying to go anywhere. I am trying to improve the community and the area, hiring local people and doing the best we can do with what we have," said John Greuniesen, Owner of Tobacco Hut.

The Liquor Control Commission says they will take the hearing under advisement until their next meeting February 5-6. They will have to have a unanimous decision if awarding an approval because currently there are only two commissioners since Bob Batt retired at the end of December.