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Liquor Board Denies License Location Transfer
Prince Frederick, MD - 8/26/2011
By Marty Madden
The Calvert County Liquor Board voted unanimously Thursday, Aug. 25 to deny a request from the owners of Woodburn’s Food Market in Solomons to transfer location of its license to the Lusby Food Lion. The request had been brought to the board back in June when longtime panel members J. Allen Swann and Maurice “Eddie” Wood were still members. Swann and Wood have since retired.
Current liquor board chairman Alonzo Barber explained the two new members, Beth Swoap and Ruth Reid, as well as alternate Jack Smack, needed to be counseled on the issue before a decision could be rendered.
Woodburn’s Food Market had been a fixture in Solomons for over 60 years. Despite the efforts by the current owners and liquor license-holders—Thomas F. McKay, Elizabeth “Betty” Johnson and Susan Jones—they were forced to close the store. Additionally, the lease for the storefront expired and now Calvert County Government is planning to retrofit the location to serve as a public library.
During the June meeting McKay explained that he approached Food Lion officials about co-locating within the Lusby store, with beer and wine sold under the Woodburn’s name.
In making the notion to deny the request for transferring the location of the license, Swoap cited a Maryland statute that prohibits having liquor licenses” associated with so-called supermarkets, discount houses and chain stores. “Specifically, section 9-102(a1) prevents a class A, B or D license from being transferred, or issued to, for use in conjunction with, or upon the premises of chain stores, discount houses or supermarkets.”
Swoap noted the measure exempts a license “already in existence at the time of this statute in 1962.”
She included in her motion “that the board find that the license subject to this transfer request is a Class B Beer and Wine on sale license issued by this board to Thomas F. McKay, Elizabeth Johnson and Susan Jones by way of conversion of class of license on or about July 22, 2010, thereby making it subject to the general prohibitions contained within section 9-102(a1).”
When asked later if the license holders would challenge the liquor board’s ruling in Calvert County Circuit Court, McKay said, “we’re still evaluating that. Mostly likely we will. I think they erred in their decision.”
McKay indicated the change in the class of the license should not mean the license is ineligible be grandfathered under the state statute.
In other business, the liquor board gave conditional approval for a Class D, on sale beer, wine and liquor license to Melvin Winterson Sherbert Sr., owner of the Stewart Duke Sportsmen Club in Prince Frederick.
Sherbert told the board the business, which is located on Route 231, has been in existence since 1929. The license will be fully approved once Sherbert has obtained a use and occupancy permit from Calvert County Government, local health department approval and finalization of background checks conducted by the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office.
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