Originally published by the Baltimore Sun
By Yvonne Wenger
Jay Chung’s parents bought the family’s business, Charles Village Schnapp Shop, a quarter-century ago, pouring their life’s savings into the liquor store and banking their retirement on its success.
But a plan to redesign Baltimore’s zoning would take the business’ value from $500,000 to zero, Chung said Thursday at a City Council hearing on the proposed land use regulations. The recommended zoning code, the first in a generation, would force about 100 neighborhood liquor stores, like the Chungs’, out of business.
“I understand the complaints, but they’re throwing all the stores into one basket and sentencing us all with one fell swoop,” Chung said.
Phasing out the liquor stores located in residential areas, those considered “nonconforming” under the zoning code, is seen by some as an opportunity to create a healthier and safer city. The audience of about 150 people — staked out on the two sides of the debate — attempted to sway council members, who must decide whether to force a third of the city’s liquor stores out of business.