Maplewood Denies Applicant for New Springfield Ave. Liquor Store

by The Village Green
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

Maplewood Township Committee, acting as the local Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) board, denied an application for a liquor license transfer on Springfield Avenue at its meeting on Tuesday night. The vote was 5-0.

The applicant,  Mineshkumar Patel, purchased the license from the A&P when it closed on Valley Street in 2013, and sought to transfer it to the former 5,000 square foot Home Decor store at 1715 Springfield Avenue. Patel owns two liquor stores in Deleware, called The Right Bottle, which carry wine and craft beers. He said he had originally lost out on a bid for the former Santander Bank space, now occupied by Wine Barrel, but liked this new space because of the busy road and available parking.

Citing concerns about the location’s proximity to Wine Barrel as well as to Kaspar’s Liquors across the street and the Hilton Library, the ABC denied the application. “I just don’t think this is the right location,” said Mayor Vic DeLuca. “It is not a place that I want to support having a liquor store.” DeLuca said he was also concerned about traffic and the lack of parking.

In addition, DeLuca said approving the license would not be advancing the township’s goal to enhance Springfield Avenue.

Before the vote, a number of residents expressed similar reservations.

“Three liquor stores are sufficient for our neighborhood,” said Carol Buchanan of the Hilton Neighborhood Association.

The owner of Kaspar’s, Shin Ja Lee, said her store had been in the community for 28 years and had the support of the town. “I think another store right across the street is a bad idea for both of us and the town. This will hurt both our businesses. But…more important than money is living in peace and harmony with our neighbors.”

“Mrs. Lee is an asset to our community,” said Erin Scherzer. “Don’t underestimate the community’s loyalty to her.”

Other residents said the move would be a step backwards for Springfield Avenue development and bad for property values.

After Township Attorney Roger Desiderio explained to the Township Committee that as the ABC they had “broad authority” on the vote as long as they were not acting in an arbitrary and capricious manner, they voted unanimously against Patel.

Noting that she liked the idea of Patel’s store and hoped he would find another location in Maplewood, India Larrier said, “We’re working very hard to transform that part of Springfield Avenue.”

Greg Lembrich said he was troubled by the “density” of liquor stores on the Avenue. Marlon K. Brownlee said he was in general opposed to the sale and presence of liquor in scenarios where children were involved.

DeLuca told Patel the town would work with him to find another location.






Related Articles