Arlington council OKs proposal for Viridian liquor store, asks for ‘class operation’

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Viridian, a master-planned community in north Arlington, is a step closer to getting its own liquor store after city council members gave the developers the approval they needed despite several residents’ concerns.

Mojy Haddad with Oakhollow Group and CHS Architects requested to rezone his property at 3980 N. Collins St. for an upscale wine and spirit shop. Haddad said he wants to bring in more restaurants to his shopping center, Waters Edge at Viridian, but the restaurateurs he has pursued will only move into high-traffic areas. Haddad’s companies built Waters Edge in 2020 and are looking to expand.

“The more businesses that we bring to this area, the better chances we have of bringing restaurants and businesses that residents want to have here,” Haddad said Tuesday.

The closest liquor stores are located in Euless and two miles south of his shopping center.

Around 50 residents sent letters opposing the plan to city hall, concerned that a liquor store would pave the way for crime, more litter at a public beach and danger for children at nearby Viridian Elementary and early learning school Children’s Lighthouse. The city received 10 letters supporting their plan, including from Robert Kembel, president of Nehemiah Company and Viridian’s developer.

Three Viridian residents spoke against the plan Tuesday, reprising the letters while lamenting the shopping center and nearby 7-Eleven is not developing as expected.

“Never in the renderings was there a liquor store or any discussion of a liquor store,” said Sparkle Harris.

Haddad said many of the concerns raised in the letters and in speaker comments were beyond his scope of control because he is not the community’s master developer.

Helen Moise, District 1 council member who represents north Arlington, apologized to Viridian residents for not siding with them, as well as for the delays in developing the area and attracting new business owners due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said she saw a benefit to having a boutique liquor store, so long as Haddad keeps the store standards high.

“I want it to be a class operation,” Moise said.

At the end of the night, six council members approved the plan. District 2 Council member Raul Gonzalez voted against the proposal, and Andrew Piel of District 4 and Victoria Farrar-Myers of District 7 abstained.

Council members must vote again on the proposal before it is approved. Council will meet again Oct. 12.

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