Despite strong and credentialed arguments on both sides, a waiver was denied for a request to serve beer and wine at a restaurant proposed for Corrales Road and Perea Road due to proximity to Corrales Elementary School. Developers of the old Corrales Inn property (previously known as Plaza San Ysidro and now emblazoned with the name Local Motive) needed a waiver to serve alcohol since the site is well within 300 feet of the school, the distance set in state law.

Restaurants in the exact same location had served beer and wine with dinner several times in the past, but the Village Council voted five-to-one to reject the application for a waiver at their March 8 meeting.

The apparently insurmountable roadblock was written opposition from Albuquerque Public Schools, which owns and operates the elementary school almost directly across Corrales Road from Local Motive. An APS official stated its clear position: “APS strictly adheres to state statute with no exceptions when it comes to liquor licensing ordinances proximate to school.”

Abundant public comment, pro and con, was provided at the council meeting; among the many villagers who weighed in was a former school principal who favored granting the requested waiver and three near neighbors who opposed it.

A former Village councillor, Fred Hashimoto, stated his opposition this way. “Allowing this waiver across the street from Corrales Elementary means the same could be allowed near the Cottonwood Montessori School —a wine bar had already been suggested— or any other school in Corrales. Cannabis businesses must maintain the 300-foot distance. Will waivers be proposed there, too?”

Several opponents of the waiver for Local Motive raised that issue, warning that a precedent might be set for another eatery serving beer and wine near the Montessori school.

Councillor Tyson Parker underscored his position by observing that “We all know that kids do dumb things around cars and streets.”

While some supporters of the proposed restaurant pointed out that the main entrance to the elementary school is much farther away, others emphasized just how close the would-be server of beer and wine would be to the west end of the school property... a scant 72 feet.

And while the would-be restauranteurs might agree to not serve during school hours, opponents pointed out that Corrales Elementary often has evening activities.

Despite the overwhelming rejection of the waiver, several councillors thanked the property’s developers for improving what they said has been an eyesore in the middle of the business district.

A previous restaurant at that location owned and operated by former Mayor Laura Warren and partner Mary Briault was one of the metro area’s premiere French eateries. It served wine, as did a later establishment, The Abbey.

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