Liquor License Ruling Appealed

SNOW HILL – The dispute over a Pocomoke liquor license is expected to continue following an appeal filed Tuesday.

The connections of Newtown Market in Pocomoke have appealed the Worcester County Circuit Court opinion affirming the decision of the Worcester County Board of License Commissioners (BLC) to grant a liquor license for Shore Spirits in Pocomoke. The matter will now move to the Court of Special Appeals.

The fight over the Shore Spirits liquor license dates back to early 2017. As Worcester County moved to exit the liquor business, county leaders accepted a bid from Kalpesh Patel to buy Shore Spirits in Pocomoke. The sale of the store, however, was contingent on Patel’s ability to get a liquor license to operate it.

When Patel, represented by attorney Mark Cropper, met with the BLC seeking a license, opposition to the request was presented by attorney Hugh Cropper on behalf of Newtown Market. Newtown Market sells beer and wine in the same shopping center as Shore Spirits.

In spite of the opposition, the BLC voted to approve the license request, citing the public need illustrated by the store’s profitable sales figures. Hugh Cropper appealed that decision.  On Jan. 9, Circuit Court Judge Broughton M. Earnest issued an opinion affirming the BLC’s actions. A week later, on Jan. 16, Cropper filed an appeal seeking a decision from the Court of Special Appeals.

The future of the Shore Spirits store will remain in limbo until the appeal is decided. Currently, the county continues to operate the store.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.