PA: ZONING BOARD DENIES LIQUOR STORE MOVE
The controversial application for a new liquor store at 4237 Walnut St. has been denied by the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment, site owner Daniel DeRitis said yesterday.
DeRitis said he will immediately appeal the decision.
“We’re not going to give up on it,” he said.
The proposal to move the liquor store from 41st and Market streets to the Walnut Street site had come under fierce criticism from members of the Masjid Al-Jamia mosque, located directly opposite from the proposed location.
But DeRitis said he was surprised by the decision since he believed there had been far more support from the community than opposition.
“We had an incredible amount of support from tax payers, voters, and I’ve never seen such an outreach of support for a commercial project,” he said.
Zoning officials have not yet told DeRitis the reasoning behind their decision.
They declined to comment publicly on the matter.
Representatives from the mosque also declined to comment.
At an extremely contentious hearing for the case on March 21, a number of local residents turned out to voice support for the liquor store, which was expected to have a much higher-end selection than the 41st and Market streets store.
Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, who represents the area, also supported the move.
A large contingent of local Muslims attended the hearing as well, claiming that the liquor store would bring harm to an area that contains the mosque, a school and many families.
DeRitis’ appeal is currently being prepared, but no date for a hearing has been set.