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January 29, 2015

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Plans advance for liquor store at McCarran

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Plans for a liquor store at McCarran International Airport are moving forward after Clark County commissioners on Tuesday authorized negotiations to begin with a local franchise.

The proposed 1,200-square-foot Lee’s Runway Liquor, an affiliate of Lee’s Discount Liquor, would be located near baggage claim. A design review will be part of the negotiations. No open containers would be allowed within 1,000 feet of the store.

The store would provide revenue for the airport, which takes a cut of each tenant's sales.

“We must be innovative in developing new revenue sources,” said Randall Walker, director of the Clark County Department of Aviation. He also listed about 50 examples of cities with liquor stores in their airports.

Commissioner Steve Sisolak, however, questioned if the county could be held liable for accidents related to the store — if someone bought a bottle, got drunk, had an accident and sued, for example. A lawyer could interpret the current ordinance on liquor licenses to hold a landlord to equal responsibility as a tenant, he said.

The county’s lawyers assured the board that Clark County was free of such liability.

Ed Uehling, a private citizen, stepped forward at the end of the meeting to protest the plan after the item had already been approved. He argued that the airport was taking business from other local businesses by creating new competition.

The board voted 4-2 for the county’s staff to reach an agreement with Lee’s. Sisolak and Lawrence Weekly opposed the negotiations; Chairman Rory Reid abstained. The final agreement and design review will require approval by the commissioners.

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