Liquor stores in Baltimore challenge new zoning law designed to shut them down


By Ian Duncan The Baltimore Sun | Jun 11, 2019

Arguing that the city of Baltimore violated the Constitution by trying to force them out of business, the owners of 30 liquor stores have appealed new zoning rules. Their lawyer said Tuesday that the challenges will allow the stores to remain open, at least for now.

The liquor stores are fixtures in some of Baltimore’s most troubled neighborhoods. But such stores have been linked to crime and the City Council targeted many of them for closure in a sweeping rewrite of the city’s zoning code in 2016.

The stores were supposed to stop selling liquor June 4 — a move their lawyer says was the first time since Prohibition that the city tried to force liquor stores out of business. Rather than shut down, some of the store owners are fighting back.

The cases were filed last week to the city’s zoning appeals board, but likely will end up in court.