WESTMINSTER — Cranberry Square on Route 140 can be home to a liquor store, a Carroll Circuit Court judge ruled Monday.
The move paves the way for Cranberry Liquors, which owner Peter G. Samios of Westminster said he will open next to Giant Food Inc. within 60 days.
Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. overturned a county liquor board decision after reading the record and hearing arguments from attorneys for Samios and the county.
In October, the board denied Samios' request for a package-goods store license, saying there already were enoughliquor stores in the area to accommodate the public. Samios appealedto the Circuit Court.
Cranberry Square, which is next to Cranberry Mall, is a 150,558-square-foot shopping center with space for about15 stores.
A Wendy's restaurant opened last month, the first business to open there.
Giant is scheduled to open April 17.
Beck said Cranberry Mall and Cranberry Square are meant to be "regional" shopping centers, drawing customers from surrounding counties and Pennsylvania.
Putting a package goods store in Cranberry Square next toGiant will allow customers "one-stop shopping," he said.
"I believe it's against the public interest not to grant a license in this area," Beck said.
There are no other package goods stores on the north side of Route 140 in the Westminster district, where Cranberry Square is located, he said.
Eight Class A beer, wine and liquor licenses are allowed in that district, and seven have been issued, liquor board records show.
Board districts follow election district lines. The Westminster district includes the entire city limits, board Administrator J. Ronald Lau said.
Liquor law allows one package-goodsstore license for every 3,000 residents within a given district.
A liquor store owner in the adjacent district, the Woolery's district, testified at the liquor board hearing last fall against granting the license to Samios.
Michael Ball, who opened Michael's Fine Wine and Spirits in early October on Route 140 in the Boulevard Exchange shopping center, said it was too soon for the board to issue another license in the same area.
Assistant County Attorney Brian M.Bowersox argued Monday, "There's a great distinction between what is necessary and what would be nice to have."
Samios and his attorney did not show that current license-holders in the district are "overburdened," Bowersox said.
Samios, 44, is the former owner of Maggie's Restaurant in Westminster and Carrolltowne Liquors in Eldersburg. He is anational director for Maryland for the National Liquor Stores Association, the appeal says.
William B. Dulany of Westminster, Samios' attorney, said Monday that the liquor board's decision was "arbitrary" and "unreasonable."
A high-traffic shopping center with easy access to Route 140 is a logical place for a package-goods store, he said.
No new Class A license has been issued in the Westminster district since 1982, Dulany added.