Zoning Board rejects application for 43rd, Chestnut liquor store

Site owner hopes to file appeal in the next 30 days

· April 18, 2012, 10:12 pm   ·  Updated April 23, 2012, 12:11 am


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Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment denied an application of a state liquor store at the 43rd and Chestnut shopping plaza.

Danny DeRitis, one of the applicants, said he is disappointed with the Board’s decision and hopes to file an appeal in the next 30 days.

The Zoning Board is the body within the Department of Licenses and Inspections that decides on cases of land use in the city.

DeRitis, along with several others, owns the shopping plaza at 43rd and Chestnut streets, which houses Risqué Video — the proposed location of the liquor store.

“The community certainly needs a good wine and spirits store. The one at 41st and Market didn’t serve the community well,” he said, adding that community members want a high-end wine and spirits store, not a liquor store. The Market Street store closed Jan. 14 due to issues with the site and landlord.

This is not the first time the Zoning Board has rejected a liquor store in the past five years. In 2007, the Zoning Board rejected a liquor store at a site owned by DeRitis at 43rd and Walnut streets, across the street from a community mosque. Members of Masjid Al-Jamia fought strongly against the move, arguing the store would offend their religion.

“[In 2007], it would have been across the street from a mosque, but in this case, it would be replacing what is currently a porn video shop,” said Barry Grossbach, zoning committee chair of the Spruce Hill Community Association, adding that he and his board found the decision “mystifying.”

The SHCA is a volunteer group of residents in the Spruce Hill community that meets regularly to improve quality of life in the area. In March, the group hosted meetings to address community concerns to a possible liquor store in that location.

After a March 13 meeting, Grossbach said the general consensus was that the store would be an improvement for the plaza and benefit to the community.

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