We know Columbians are excited — even fanatical — about their new Wegmans. But is that irrational popularity enough to bend state law, zoning rules, and the Howard County General Plan to allow the grocery behemoth to sell booze?
Wegmans certainly seems confident that they’ll get a pass from the Alcohol Beverage Hearing Board — confident enough to have already built the second floor liquor store with “shelving in place and separate loading docks.”
So why should they expect to have their license request granted? Well, you see, it’s not that Wegmans wants to sell liquor themselves. No, no, of course not. They just want to rent out space on the second floor to an independently operating store, 90 percent of which happens to be owned by Christopher O’Donnell, husband of Wegmans’ President Colleen Wegman. And even he is really just “a venture capitalist.” Yeah, that’s the ticket. The real man in charge is the 10 percent owner, Ellicott City lawyer Michael Smith. He’s the one who applied for the liquor license. Everything’s totally above board per state law.
As to the location’s M-1 zoning designation (which was expanded to allow food sales, but not alcohol), and inconsistency with Howard County’s soon-to-be-adopted General Plan (which states that such stores should be pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly), I’m assuming the argument goes something like, “Don’t you realize that we are Wegmans?! You will pay for this insolence!”
Though my general feeling is that the ABHB will acquiesce to the megalomaniacal designs of the grocery juggernaut, they haven’t made their decision yet. And most of those who’ve testified have been opposed. Spitefully, it would be nice to see those liquor store shelves stocked with nothing but grenadine, sour mix, and O’Doul’s.
Latest posts by Robert OBrien (see all)
- Baltimore Woman Accused of Stealing from Local Business to Stock Her Own - December 8, 2017
- Manny Machado Is No Longer the Best; That’s Good News for O’s Fans - December 8, 2017
- Baltimore Ravens 2017: A Tragedy - October 23, 2017