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El Con Wal-Mart denied liquor license; neighbors call it a victory

Liz Kotalik

El Con Wal-Mart denied liquor license; neighbors call it a victory

CREATED Jul. 12, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - After months of back and forth fighting with one of the biggest companies in the country, one midtown neighborhood can now say they finally have a victory.

Their signature blue sign isn't even up yet, but the future Wal-Mart on 3601 East Broadway is already causing controversy. 

"I don't think it's fair to our children, I don't think it's fair to our neighborhood, and I don't think it's fair to Tucson," neighbor Joan Kaye Cauthorn told Nine On Your Side.

Not fair, Joan said, that this 24-hour superstore has been fighting her El Encanto neighborhood to sell alcohol.

A fight, though, that's now over.

In a unanimous vote, the Arizona State Liquor Board told Wal-Mart that they could not have a liquor license.

They said selling alcohol would be a disruption to the surrounding neighborhood that the store had not prepared for.

But in a statement to Nine On Your Side, Wal-Mart said in part:

"We take our responsibility as a good corporate citizen seriously and are proud of our record with the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control.  The series 9 license we have requested is the same one held by most major grocers in Tucson."

"The concern was that serving liquor or selling liquor would bring in traffic that we just don't feel is appropriate for an intercity neighborhood such as ours," another neighbor, Larry Hecker, told us.

He's just moving in today, and said before buying his house, that Wal-Mart was a big concern; not big enough, though, to keep him from moving there.

However, others told me off camera that they were packing up and leaving, all thanks to what popped up in their backyards.

The El Con Wal-Mart is planning on opening in early fall and employing about 280 people.

No word yet on whether Wal-Mart will appeal the board's decision.