BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore health officials are seeking to strip dozens of liquor stores of their licenses to crack down on violence in poorer neighborhoods.

The Baltimore Sun reports health and planning officials said last week that they’ll use a citywide rezoning effort to force some stores to move, close or change their offerings.

In most cases, the stores would have to stop selling alcohol within two years of the plan’s approval by the City Council. A
legal representative for many of the merchants says that is not enough time to make the changes.

Officials say they decided to target 128 stores nestled among homes. The stores, which would not be able to get a license to sell alcohol today, were grandfathered in during the last city zoning effort in the 1970s.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)