Liquor stores expected to fight beverage outlet Your Wine Shoppe again seeks license

September 27, 1993|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,Staff Writer

Liquor store owners along U.S. 40 are expected to tell the Howard County Council sitting as the Liquor Board tonight that there is no need for a beverage store in the Enchanted Forest Shopping Center.

When they told a similar story 18 months ago, the Liquor Board concurred and voted 4-1 to deny a license to Your Wine Shoppe Inc. on the grounds that it was not necessary to accommodate the public.

Armed with a new consultant and a new study, Your Wine Shoppe Inc. is again asking the Liquor Board to grant the company a liquor license.

The new consultant, John R. Sherwood III, told the board Sept. 9 that although per-capita consumption of alcoholic beverages is down, the demand is up because of population growth in the area.

"There is an opportunity here not being tapped," Mr. Sherwood told the board Sept. 9. "There is sufficient market support without damaging competing businesses."

Owners of existing liquor stores disagree. They are expected to challenge Mr. Sherwood's findings and produce their own data showing that they are financially hurting and will lose more business if Your Wine Shoppe is allowed to open.

Following his testimony earlier this month, Liquor Board members questioned Mr. Sherwood about his economic assumptions, saying they were based on projections and averages rather than on specific findings. Mr. Sherwood told the board he based his assumptions on the limited data available.

Other tenants in the shopping center told the board that a liquor store would attract customers for one-stop shopping at the center.

In order to be granted a license, applicants must prove they are fit and proper persons to hold a license, that the granting of the license will not unduly disturb the peace and safety of the neighborhood, and that the license is necessary to accommodate the public.

Following the 7 p.m. Liquor Board hearing, board members will don their County Council hats and hold a work session on legislation planned for the Oct. 4 docket.

The council will discuss an amendment to a $3.3 million bond request for a public golf course in West Friendship, a resolution endorsing a group housing project for the elderly on Cloudburst Hill in Columbia, and a resolution to adopt a deferred compensation plan for county employees and elected officials.

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