CVS Pharmacy's application for liquor license sparks debate in Ocean Beach

Some residents believe approval means more crime

SAN DIEGO - A showdown is fast approaching over Ocean Beach's newest retail outlet and what it may be selling.

CVS Pharmacy hopes to move into the building that used to house the Apple Tree Supermarket on Santa Monica Avenue. The store is also applying for a license to sell alcohol -- an application that goes before the Ocean Beach Planning Board Wednesday night.

Near the building are bars and liquor stores on Newport Avenue.

"Rite Aid is right down the street. They do a helluva lot of liquor business. There are liquor stores all over and bars all over," said Samuel Copeland, who has lived in Ocean Beach for 15 years.

In a letter to the planning board, board representative John Ambert points out that 21 percent of crime in Ocean Beach is linked to alcohol.

"I just don't want it to turn into another Pacific Beach," said Copeland.

Other Ocean Beach residents said those concerns are overblown.

Nikki Schultz has studied the crime reports and said the problem isn't near retail outlets.

"It's located in the area near where the bars are located," said Schultz.

Others point out the pharmacy will mean jobs and an option for some food items, and alcohol is a critical ingredient.

"It's a part of their business model; they need to sell liquor to make that store profitable. We'd prefer a grocery store, but we need a store," said Ocean Beach resident Robert Stockstill.

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