Auckland restaurant can't get a liquor licence - because they don't have enough car parks for patrons


An Auckland restaurant franchisee has been left frustrated after being told he needed 11 car parks to get a certificate required to gain a liquor licence.

Mexicali Fresh

Mexicali Fresh

Source: Supplied

Devon Nel, who runs a Mexicali Fresh branch on Robert Street in Ellerslie, has been in negotiations with Auckland Council's consents department about a clause in the resource consent he took over when he opened in October 1 last year.

The previous venue at the address already had a liquor licence, by Mr Nel had to re-apply for one - which he said was "pretty normal".

Customers were eager to enjoy a beer with their Mexican food, he said.

"The whole thing we do with booze - we don't do it because we make good money, we do it because it's good vibes," he said.

"Corona and burritos - it's a match made in heaven."

However, after applying for the required Alcohol Planning Certificate (a pre-requirement for a liquor license) he discovered a hitch in the resource consent for the address which halted the process.

The consent conditions require 11 car parks to be available solely for the patrons of the restaurant every day after 5.30pm.

Without these parks, the Council would not grant the Alcohol Planning Certificate, which is required to gain a liquor licence.

Mr Nel, who already manages three other businesses with liquor licenses, said "it makes no sense" and that it was "needless red tape ... as far as I'm concerned."

"In modern days when they're trying to build transport nodes like Ellerslie, that you need to still have carparks? It's irrelevant, carparks."

Commenters online have been quick to point out that requiring car parks in order to obtain a liquor licence seems bizarre, including Auckland Councillor Richard Hills, who wrote that he wanted to see this requirement looked at.

"This is very odd. I did not know that was a policy and it doesn't make sense. No carparks? No alcohol? How can I change this?" Mr Hills wrote.

Others pointed out the irony of requiring car parks for a liquor license.

"Wait, what? Is there a logical reason for this? At face value that seems like a brain dead requirement that encourages drink driving," wrote one.

Others said Ellerslie already has enough cars, and that public transport is the new norm.

"Ellerslie has a ton of parking (and therefore excessive manoeuvring cars) anyway. This is absurd. There's a train station and bus route."

An Auckland Council spokesperson confirmed the conditions on the consent, but also said they are in discussions with the owner.

"The Mexicali Fresh restaurant on Robert Street, Ellerslie has a current resource consent to operate (issued in 2013) that requires them to have a set number of customer car parks at the rear of the building," they said in a statement.

"It is understood that a car parking arrangement is not currently in place.

"The restaurant is required to meet the terms of their resource consent before Auckland Council can legally issue a liquor planning certificate.

"The council's compliance staff are in the process of contacting the operators of the restaurant to further discuss and resolve the matter."

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