Stemway Food Store sues City of New Orleans over liquor license loss

Kyle Barnett Jan. 20, 2012, 4:33am

NEW ORLEANS - Stemway Food Store is suing the City of New Orleans for a zoning issue they say resulted in the store being denied renewal of its liquor license.

Stemway Food Store filed suit on Jan.. 3 against the City of New Orleans in Orleans Parish Civil District Court.

The store claims the city made an interim zoning change in their district after they reapplied for their alcohol beverage permit. The plaintiff claims the process of applying for a new license was held up by a clerical error made by the Department of Revenue.

The city is accused of denying liquor sales at the store by making an interim zoning decision that placed a moratorium on allowing alcohol sales in the area. The plaintiff asserts the city acted negligently when it denied the store a license because Stemway's alcohol permit was reinstated temporarily while the store was in the process of correcting code violations.

The plaintiff alleges the city should have granted it a variance based on its continued effort to procure an alcohol permit. The interim zoning designation is alleged to have been backed by community members opposed to alcohol sales who attended the meeting in which the Board of Zoning Authority denied an appeal by Stemway.

The plaintiff is seeking a declaration that the zoning board's actions were arbitrary and capricious and that the city's use of interim zoning districts to deny alcoholic beverage permits is impermissible, in addition to overturning the zoning board's decision.

Stemway is being represented by New Orleans-based attorney Michael W. Tifft.

The case has been assigned to Division L Judge Kern A. Reese.

Case number 2012-00053

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