Indian community rejects alcohol proposal - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Indian community rejects alcohol proposal

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Posted: Tuesday, December 12, 2006 7:05 pm | Updated: 4:54 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Members of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community voted Tuesday against allowing alcohol to be sold by the glass in restaurants that are planned for the Pima Corridor.

The official tally showed the proposal failed 258-208, marking the third time since 1999 that community residents have shot down attempts to expand alcohol sales in sites beyond casinos, golf courses and resorts.

Backers of the measure had hoped to sway the community by promising to boost health care funding through a tax on every drink sold. The 2 percent surcharge, levied on potentially 50 restaurants to be built, could have raised $1 million annually, boosters said.

“We have to look at any sort of resource we have,” Mary Chiago, 49, said before the results were tallied.

Russell Ray, whose petition drive got the measure on the ballot, could not be reached for comment. The Ray family owns about 100 acres within the 8,000-acre Pima Corridor.

The Pima Corridor is an eight-mile stretch of land running along Pima Road, from McKellips Road to the community’s northern boundary, just north of the Via De Ventura.

The defeat is a blow to developers who hoped to capitalize on their investment in land that is adjacent to Scottsdale and, thanks to the Loop 101, easily accessible from other parts of the Valley.

Without sales of alcohol, it is unlikely that high-end restaurants would be attracted to Pima Corridor developments.

Jay Butler, director of the Arizona Real Estate Center at Arizona State University’s Polytechnic campus, noted that the high-end restaurant scene in north Scottsdale area is very competitive, and the inability to sell alcohol puts a business at a distinct disadvantage.

Those unfavorable conditions also would extend to many franchised eateries.

“Applebees, Chili’s, Olive Garden — these are all basic chains, and they all sell liquor,” Butler said.

In addition, without restaurants providing nightlife there is little reason for retail shops to stay open past traditional business hours.

“If you’re trying to build a destination thing where people come in ... this sort of limits what sort of options you may have,” Butler said.

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