The number of liquor stores Baltimore City is seeking to move from their current locations or close has dropped from 128 to 98, but four locations in North Baltimore are still in danger of being shutdown.
The city plans to enforce zoning rules written 41 years ago, and within the next two years will force the stores to close, move to a location that is zoned for the sale of alcohol or stay put and not sell liquor.
"Our latest analysis of state liquor board records shows that of the current 122 Non-Conforming Class A licenses, 22 will become conditional uses and two will become conforming as defined by the proposed Transform Baltimore Zoning Code," Brian Schleter, a Health Department spokesman wrote in an email to Patch.
Under these revisions, the Schnapp Shop, New Guilford Liquors, and are all in danger of closing.
The city’s zoning code was rewritten in 1971 and prohibited liquor stores in the middle of a residential block, but existing licenses were allowed to stay in operation. But now the city, citing Johns Hopkins studies linking these stores to violence, wants them to move or close.
During a news conference on Wednesday, which is posted to the Health Department’s website, Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot argues that the number of liquor stores has remained consisted during the last 40 years while the city’s population has declined by 31 percent.
"In addition, almost three-quarters of the alcohol outlets operating outside of the zoning code are primarily concentrated in the poorest area of the city," Barbot said.
Patch was unable to contact anyone at the four North Baltimore stores for comment on this story.