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Oakport officials approve liquor store

A liquor store may be coming to Oakport Township in the next few months, after the township's joint powers board granted a gas station owner a permit for the addition Wednesday.

A liquor store may be coming to Oakport Township in the next few months, after the township's joint powers board granted a gas station owner a permit for the addition Wednesday.

The liquor store, planned added to the Oasis Convenience Store at 209 Wall St. Ave. N.W., still requires a county-approved liquor license, said Kim DePree, associate planner for Moorhead.

Even if the store receives that permit, the building will not be expanded. Instead, 800 square feet of the 3,000 square foot building would be walled off to be used as a liquor store, DePree said.

Plans also call for a separate entrance to the liquor store. Both portions of the convenience store would be accessible from the current entrance, but then a foyer would split customers into one half of the store or the other, she said.

The store would be the only liquor vendor in the township, since Jerry's Bar, 1500 11th St. N., was annexed into the city about a decade ago, DePree said. That means the liquor store has taken up Oakport's one liquor license -- another one cannot be issued until the township's population grows to 2,000 more people than were counted in the 2000 U.S. Census, she said.

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The liquor store is being added in response to customer requests, said Moorhead resident Sajid Ghauri, who bought the service station in April.

Ghauri said customer input is responsible for many changes at his store, including pumps for diesel fuel and oxygenated gasoline he plans to add along with the alcohol.

"The ATM was a big deal for us, sugarless candy was a big deal," he said.

Board chairman Kevin Campbell said he hasn't received any complaints from residents about the possibility of adding a liquor store.

"I guess I really don't have a problem with it," Campbell said. "It's just the way the system works -- if the market wants it, go ahead and try."

The board's vote to give Ghauri a conditional use permit for the liquor store was unanimous. No one spoke against the liquor store at a public hearing.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Joy Anderson at (701) 241-5556

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