State overturns alcohol permit

Neighbors successfully appeal Worthsville exit gas station decision

A state board overturned a decision allowing a recently opened gas station on the east side of Greenwood to sell alcohol.

Now, the Circle K, located at 2114 Sheek Road, will have to stop selling alcohol.

The decision by the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission was made after an appeal was filed by a group of residents who live near the gas station, located at Worthsville and Sheek roads, near the new Interstate 65 exit.

They argued that residents in the area didn’t want or need the service, and the state board agreed. The state’s decision overturned an approval by the county alcoholic beverage board earlier this year, which had OK’d the sale of alcohol and said that the permit would be reviewed after a year.

The gas station had been allowed to sell alcohol since getting that approval to transfer the company’s alcohol permit from another Circle K location on State Road 135.

Representatives from Circle K could not be reached.

Residents who live near the gas station had been fighting against the permit for months, and when it was approved locally, filed an appeal with the state.

Having the decision overturned was not typical and came as a welcomed shock to the neighbors, said Angela Stelljes, one of the residents leading the effort.

“The voice of the people has been heard,” she said.

“Those moments are really important for people to hear.”

Residents who live in the area had raised concerns about alcohol being sold, especially with the gas station near Grassy Creek Elementary School and Clark-Pleasant Middle School. They also had argued against a gas station being built at all, but it was allowed under the zoning in the area. The city council approved a resolution against the gas station selling alcohol.

The resident group also went door-to-door collecting signatures, and got a total of 799. The group reached 71 percent of the homes within a half-mile of the gas station, and 86 percent of the residents of those homes signed the petition, according to the filing with the state. Another 128 signatures were collected online.

The filing also cited that all 17 alcohol permits available in the city were currently issued, which was why Circle K had to transfer a permit from another location in Greenwood.

Both the number of signatures and the fact that all permits are issued illustrate the lack of need for alcohol sales at the gas station, according to the ruling from the state board.

The state also noted the local board’s decision to review the permit in a year for any violations or police calls, saying the local board “incorrectly discounted the need and desire requirement for a new or transferred permit,” the ruling said.

Stelljes called the decision a huge win for the residents who collected signatures and signed the petition.

“People get excited, and passionate, but can get dejected by the process, and there is no way to thank everyone who signed the petition,” Stelljes said.

She closely is watching a committee of state lawmakers who are studying the laws and processes that apply to alcohol permits for any changes that could impact what residents can argue when they are concerned about these permits in their neighborhood, she said.

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Annie Goeller is managing editor of the Daily Journal. She can be reached at agoeller@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2718.