Neighbors oppose plan to reopen liquor store

February 26, 1997


Staff Writer

A plan to reopen a liquor store in a Hagerstown neighborhood cleared one hurdle Wednesday.

The Washington County Liquor Board approved the license application for Dave's Liquors, 303 N. Mulberry St., on the condition that the owners meet all zoning, health and fire standards.

The property is zoned residential, according to the Hagerstown zoning office.

Fred's Liquor Store had operated out of that location for many years. That store has been closed for more than a year, however, and the property must now meet current Hagerstown zoning regulations. Zoning rules prohibit liquor stores from locating in neighborhoods zoned residential. Property owners have the option of seeking a zoning exception through the zoning appeals board or taking the matter to court.

Hagerstown developer David Lyles, one of the D&B Corp. partners in the plan to reopen the store, said after the liquor board meeting that he had no comment.


In the meantime, Mulberry Street neighbors began circulating petitions against the plan to reopen the liquor store.

Al Russell, a retired car salesman who lives at 310 N. Mulberry St., said he collected more than 60 signatures since Tuesday, when he said he learned of the plan. Other petitions were being circulated by others in the neighborhood, he said.

"We knew nothing about this until we read about it in the newspaper," Russell said. "How can you fight something if you know nothing about it?"

Russell said he hoped to take the petitions to the liquor board.

"We don't need a liquor store here," Russell said. "We've got enough of them."

Liquor Board Chairman Donald Mellott said the board's decision was weighed by the fact that the property had housed a liquor store for 51 years until 1995.

Mellott said the board's decision hinges on the new owners meeting other obligations before being granted a license.

Mellott said the board attempted to have last week's hearing advertised at least 10 days in advance, but ran into a publication deadline problem. The property, however, was properly posted in advance of the hearing, he said.

The county's 1990 moratorium on off-sale liquor licenses remains in effect, Mellott said. That moratorium places a cap of one off-sale liquor license for each 1,000 people living in the county.

There are 217 liquor licenses in the county, officials said.

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