The owner of an Ellicott City liquor store whose license was opposed by area residents has been fined $250 for allowing a 20-year-old underage police volunteer to buy alcohol March 12.
Police sent the youth into the St. John's Liquors at 9150 Baltimore National Pike, where he bought a four-pack of malt liquor after showing the clerk his driver's license showing him to be 20. The legal drinking age in Maryland is 21.
Owner Matthew Park testified through an interpreter that the clerk mistook the birth month for a "1," meaning January, instead of a "7," meaning July. The clerk was later fired, Park said, and he hired retired county liquor inspector Martin Johnson to train his workers. Workers who don't make a "bad sale" are now rewarded, Johnson testified. The fine was imposed July 14.
Residents of the area and the county's Licensed Beverage Association opposed granting Park a license in 2009 on grounds that there were already seven liquor stores nearby. They then supported legislation in the General Assembly to limit the number of package-goods store licenses by population, but that failed.
Instead, legislators directed the Alcoholic Beverage Hearing Board to consider community need and interest in a store before granting a new license.
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