Voters will decide fate of liquor licenses for 3 Columbiana stores

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BEAVER TWP., Ohio (WYTV) – Voters in Mahoning County’s Beaver Township Precinct 4 will vote on a liquor option Tuesday that, if rejected, would mean three other businesses could lose the liquor licenses they already have.

Vince Furrie owns the Columbiana Sparkle, which has been selling beer and wine for 15 years. He says if the liquor option fails, he’ll no longer be able to sell alcoholic beverages to-go.

“My dilemma is that I find out that by them wording the ballot the way it is, I could lose my liquor license, along with my neighbors.”

Those neighbors include a Rite Aid store and the Wine Connection, which is also a state liquor store.

The three businesses’ liquor licenses will not expire for another year but if the option fails, they will have to ask voters to reapprove their licenses once again.

There is also a proposition to build a Discount Drug Mart on the land behind Furrie’s store, where Lake Front Golf Course once stood. He says the liquor option would allow the new strip plaza to sell beer and wine, and it’s more likely to be built if the option passes.

Furrie, who lives in Precinct 4, says he’s voting “no” because he doesn’t want the plaza to be built.

“I don’t think that property needs to be a plaza. I think it needs to be residential.”

WYTV 33 News called Discount Drug Mart, but there was no response. However, Salem News is reporting that an attorney representing the plaza’s developer said:

If it does not [pass], those businesses will remain open and would then need to put on a subsequent ballot a single location permit.

Furrie says he’s willing to put his liquor license back in the voters’ hands and let them decide, if it means the plaza is less likely to be built.

“I have to reapply and I have good faith in my customers,” Furrie said. “I mean, they voted us in I don’t know how many years ago it’s been…but we’ve all been spot zoned in, and I’m confident if they vote no and they turn them down, I’ll still get my liquor license.”

The manager of the Wine Connection says he’s not sure what to think. He can’t believe they would have to re-vote for licenses the existing businesses already have.

If the liquor option passes, all three of the businesses can keep their licenses and there will not need to be a re-vote.