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ANAHEIM, Calif. - Mexican supermarket chain Gigante on Tuesday won approval from the Anaheim City Council for a liquor license, clearing the way for its first Orange County store, The Orange County Register reports.
Around 280 people showed up for the heated discussion about liquor licenses and perceptions that the city opposed Gigante's 54,000-square-foot market at Anaheim Plaza because it would focus on Hispanic customers.
The council voted 3-1 to overturn a decision made in June by the Planning Commission, which denied Gigante a liquor license. Council members said the market is needed and should not face a stricter standard than other supermarkets for getting a license.
The decision was praised by Gigante USA President Justo Frias, who had worked with community members and politicians to pressure the city in the days leading up to the meeting.
"I feel very good. The council has made the right decision," Frias said.
Gigante had staged a rally to promote its cause before the meeting, saying the council was pondering actions illegal under the North American Free Trade Agreement.
After the Planning Commission denial in June, the company argued that the city was prejudiced by a staff letter that pointed out Gigante's use of Spanish-language signs and music.
Planning officials had argued the issue was the regional focus of Anaheim Plaza, and denied being influenced by the staff letter regarding Gigante's operations.
Project opponents on Tuesday argued that there are enough liquor licenses in the neighborhood -- twice the number the population would dictate -- and crime there is 184 percent above the city's average.