Is it a stretch to claim that installing a huge new beer and wine emporium at Fourth and Market is a matter of "public convenience or necessity"?
That depends on how you frame the argument. Opening up a liquor shop -- or simply distributing booze from flatbeds to ne'er-do-wells -- probably wouldn't cut it. But if you're also going to offer customers "fresh meats, fresh vegetables and produce and fresh bakery items, along with a selection of dry goods" with the beer and wine -- that's different.
That's what Target is banking on. The retail giant earlier this month sent a notice to the clerk of the Board of Supervisors, noting that it has initiated the intricate governmental song and dance that may allow Metreon Target shoppers to purchase booze along with their $29.99 Timex Easy Reader watches and $12.99 Xhilaration sunglasses. Because of the location of the new shop, the board must deem that allowing Target to hawk adult beverages is a matter of "public convenience or necessity."
As a "CityTarget," the future store will be smaller than the stadium-sized outlets you'll find in Albany or Daly City. It will be "designed specifically to meet the needs of urban residents and visitors," writes lawyer Beth Aboulafia in her note to the board clerk. Those needs include "the convenience of one-stop shopping for urban living essentials."
Among the "urban living essentials" in question are, naturally, beer and wine.
Victor Young, a board clerk, said the application has been forwarded to both the Planning and Police departments. When those bodies have weighed the merits of Target's application, a hearing will be scheduled at the Board of Supervisors City Operations and Neighborhood Services committee, which will hear from the police, applicants, and whomever deems to show up and comment on the matter. From there it will be passed along to the full board and mayor.
It is uncertain how long this process will take. In the meantime, a wonderful new phrase has been introduced into San Francisco lexicon. Next time you see someone walking down the street with a clandestine can of beer, you can refer to it as an "urban essential in a bag."