FAIRFIELD — A local store owner is waiting on state paperwork to open a market approved three months ago by the City Council.
The future site of Food Fair Market at 198 E. Pacific Ave. still looks the way it did in September when the Fairfield council voted to approve the liquor license for Paul Hayer.
Several neighboring business owners and residents showed up to multiple meetings to speak about the problems caused by the previous store. They claimed problems of littering, prostitution and drug use were common during the previous owner’s tenure.
The council eventually credited Hayer for running several successful businesses and approved the license. Hayer was given several restrictions and was told he would have to come before the council periodically to keep members updated. He said at the time he hoped it would be open in 60 to 90 days.
Because of those complaints and restrictions, Hayer said the California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control is still investigating the issue before issuing its approval.
“On my part, we are ready,” Hayer said. “It’s a matter of the state saying we have the green light.”
Hayer said he has begun small steps to improve the inside of the building, but is waiting to make any major changes. That includes removing the two gas tanks and pumps from the parking lot. He said once he receives word that things are finalized, it should take about 60 days to open.
“I’ve had people come up and ask me when it’s opening,” he said. “It’s a very slow process.”
Once a city approves the liquor license, it is then sent to the state, where ABC does a background investigation, said ABC spokesman John Carr. He confirmed that investigation can take longer if there are formal objections. He said a typical time period to issue the license is about 45 to 90 days.
“If there is a protest in the community, then it can get hung up,” Carr said. “It can take longer if there are issues the community is concerned about. Because we are here for the best interest of the community.”
The waiting has become frustrating for Hayer as he sees people use his empty lot for parking every night. He said none of his other stores in Fairfield or Suisun City took this long.
Reach Danny Bernardini at 427-6935 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dbernardinidr.