The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board announced Tuesday it has granted Nissan Pavilion a license to sell mixed drinks, overruling an appeal by Delegate Bob Marshall, R-Manassas, who said nearby residential communities would be negatively affected by an expansion of alcohol sales.
The ABC Board#&039;s decision came two days after Marshall made his appeal before the board Sept. 25 in Richmond.
In the decision, the board said Marshall could not provide overwhelming evidence that selling mixed drinks would result in an increase of improper behavior at Nissan events and therefore the license should be granted.
Beer and wine are sold at concerts. Nissan Pavilion will now be permitted to also serve liquor-based drinks in its VIP area and at private events or in tents.
Marshall cited arrest records from Nissan concerts and the likelihood that drivers leave concerts under the influence of alcohol, despite limited police checkpoints as evidence that alcohol affects property values and “the usual quietude and tranquility” of the area.
Law enforcement officials have said they do not object to Nissan selling mixed drinks as long as the sales were limited to the VIP area, corporate or private tents and during private events.
Drinks, including sodas and bottled water, are not allowed to be taken from the areas.
Nissan management said that it asked for the license change to meet requests by clientele.
Marshall has 30 days to appeal the decision to the Virginia Supreme Court. He said that he would not comment but leave his options open. He promised he would revisit the issue at the General Assembly — which has the ultimate authority, since it granted the exception to allow Nissan to sell alcohol, he said.
“It is astounding that persons [ABC officials] who are charged with oversight of misuse of alcohol wouldn#&039;t even want to get information from police on how many people are arrested … wouldn#&039;t even want to find out how many people are injured” during concerts, he said.
He said police have asked Nissan not to bring back certain acts and those acts were brought back — showing how the dollar bill is more important than public safety.
In 2000, police records show that the county arrested 852 people at 31 concerts, up from 283 arrests at 31 concerts in 1999.
Staff writer Chris Newman can be reached at (703) 878-8062.