After 4 years, liquor license is transferred to Rosedale

June 19, 1996|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

Four years after crime and misfortune forced Joseph and Mary Powers to close their debt-ridden liquor store in Cedonia, Baltimore County's liquor board has approved the sale and relocation of their license to Rosedale.

The case pitted the desire of Joseph Powers, 71, who works part time as a clerk in a Towson liquor store to pay his business debts, against those of area store owners and residents who say Rosedale already has too many liquor licenses.

And it highlighted again the board's sometimes loose interpretation of a state law declaring liquor licenses invalid 180 days after a business is closed.

"My gosh, it's a big relief," Powers said. "It's been a struggle."

The Powerses had a store on York Road, where Towson Commons stands, but was displaced in 1976 when a bank bought the building for a new branch. They then bought a store in the former Cedonia Mall in the 6000 block of Radecke Ave.

A 1988 holdup left their grown son Michael disabled from gunshot wounds. Later, Joseph Powers borrowed money to keep going but had to close when Mount Pleasant Baptist Church bought the rundown shopping center and refused to renew the lease.

The Powerses lost one prospective buyer for the license when the liquor board said it was tied to the shopping center location and could not be moved -- a decision a court reversed, but too late for that sale. Other deals also collapsed over the years.

The board's approval of the license sale was made over protests from several competitors and from community groups near the proposed Kenwood Shopping Center liquor store. Some residents said a liquor store should not be located next to the Kenwood library branch.

But buyers Dong In Shin and Janet Eun Shin had more than 300 signatures on petitions supporting their venture, compared with 125 who signed protest petitions and letters to the board.

Approval also was granted despite the 180-day expiration law. Daryl Buhrman Sr., president of the Rosedale Community Association, said it should have nullified the license.

But board Chairman Philip R. Leyhe Jr. said the unusual nature of the Powerses' case, which includes at least three failed attempts to sell the license, justified the board's actions.

In the past, the board has loosely interpreted the law, renewing the 180-day period repeatedly -- sometimes for years.

Pub Date: 6/19/96

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