Daly City to revisit liquor at new CVS pharmacy 

click to enlarge CVS pharmacy's new location in Daly City was denied a liquor permit, but that decision will be reconsidered by the City Council in the coming months. - BRENDAN P. BARTHOLOMEW/SPECIAL TO THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Brendan P. Bartholomew/Special to The S.F. Examiner
  • CVS pharmacy's new location in Daly City was denied a liquor permit, but that decision will be reconsidered by the City Council in the coming months.

The Daly City City Council intends to reconsider its decision to prevent the CVS pharmacy chain from selling alcohol at its newest location.

When the matter was brought before the council in July, only three council members were present. Their decision to deny the alcohol permit was partly based on the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control's assertion that the drugstore chain's new location, currently under construction at 135 Pierce St., was in a high-crime area.

Consultants for CVS have determined, however, that the ABC mistakenly used crime data from the wrong census tract. Therefore, the council will revisit the matter during its Sept. 9 meeting.

But whether the revelation about the ABC's error will make much of a difference is unclear.

When the council originally considered the matter, Mayor Ray Buenaventura noted that alcohol was readily available at stores within a mile of the site, and in nearby Colma.

"I don't see how we can say that our public is not adequately served by what we have now," Buenaventura said.

Several other issues also arose during that meeting, including the new store's close proximity to Seton Medical Center, and to nearby youth and senior services. The site is next to the Peninsula Del Rey senior living community, and less than a half-mile from the Margaret P. Brown and Hope Lutheran elementary schools.

Vice Mayor David Canepa expressed concern about the site being close to the elementary schools, although he said the crime issue weighed heavily on his thinking.

Responding to Canepa's concern, CVS representative William McDermott, an employee of company developer Armstrong Development, said the idea that CVS might sell alcohol to an elementary school student was "inconceivable."

McDermott told the council CVS is very strict about training employees regarding illegal alcohol sales, and he pointed out that of the 460 CVS stores currently operating in California, 410 have alcohol licenses.

"Obviously we wouldn't be granted those permits if we didn't follow the rules," McDermott said.

He also said that although alcohol is a very small part of CVS's business, it's a crucial one, because the company wants customers to be able to have a consistent experience from one store to the next.

McDermott declined to comment following the meeting though he did note that he was surprised by the council's original decision, and grateful for its willingness to reconsider the decision.

Employees of CVS could not be reached for comment.

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