Churches battle liquor store next door

October 8, 2012 7:53:45 PM PDT
Two churches in Queens are now in the middle of a nasty battle because of what's in the middle between them.

The churches are sandwiching a new liquor store.

The churches fought it because they argued alcoholism is already a problem in the community.

The bright red neon sign of the Bao Liquor Store announces its presence on Northern Boulevard with flashing lights.

It's hard to miss it, sitting, as it does, amid three modest Christian churches which, as you might guess, wish it would go away.

"I think the church is right. It shouldn't be that close," a resident said.

The law says liquor stores can't open within 200 feet of a church, but that only applies to churches that occupy an entire building, there are apartments above these storefront churches.

Still, the state liquor authority turned down the stores application, but a state judge overruled them, saying the store could open, at least temporarily.

"Sometimes you can see drunk people passing by, it's not a good example for our children, and even for the people who have been struggling before with alcohol and all of these things. It's like a temptation right outside of the church," said Rev Daniel Rojas, a pastor.

Eyewitness News hoped to talk to the store owner, Bao Xing Zheng, but workers at the store he owns, said they had no way of reaching him.

Even some in the neighborhood who have no problem with the store being in the neighborhood wondered about it being allowed to open here.

"I never seen anything like that. My initial thought was that it shouldn't be there, but I don't set rules, I don't make the laws," a resident said.

The license the store operates under is temporary, but even the pastor isn't sure it will ever leave.

"The rule of the land is that money is involved, it's going to be very hard to move things around once money is involved," Rojas said.

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