The state liquor board did not realize the precinct was dry until last year.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Mill Creek Deli has sold beer and wine from its South Schenley Avenue location for 13 years in a dry precinct with the blessings of the Ohio Liquor Control Board.
But that could come to an end, depending on the outcome of a liquor option on Tuesday's primary ballot for residents of Precinct 4-B.
CDB Inc. purchased the deli in 1988, and the company's owners transferred a liquor license from its former South Side business so beer and wine could be sold at the South Schenley store. CDB also received annual license renewals from the liquor control board until it sold the store in June 2000 to RDR Developers and Construction Inc., said Dan Martin, RDR's president.
But a problem arose after the new owners took over, Martin said.
Dry discovery: It was discovered that Precinct 4-B was dry and thus no liquor is permitted to be sold there, said Martin and Thomas McCabe, deputy director of the Mahoning County Board of Elections.
"I don't know how they could renew a license for 12 years and then do this," Martin said.
The issue goes back to 1938, when Precinct 4-B voted itself dry, McCabe said.
"Liquor control apparently didn't have that on its books when they approved the 1988 transfer and the annual renewals," McCabe said.
After a court fight, Mill Creek has been permitted to continue selling beer and wine, Martin said. But the liquor control board required the business to put a liquor issue on the next available public ballot, which is Tuesday, Martin said.
"We're not asking for anything extra or anything that wasn't here for 13 years," he said. "We just want to continue selling beer and wine for carryout."
Door to door: Martin, an unsuccessful candidate for state representative last year, and his partner, Rick Durkin, who was defeated in a big for Mahoning County clerk of courts in 1999, have experience campaigning. They are putting it to good use going door to door in the precinct asking people to support the liquor option, Martin said.
If the issue is rejected, Martin said, the store might have to close.
Pizza shop: Also on Tuesday's ballot is a liquor option for Bears Den Pizza, near Mill Creek Deli, to sell beer and intoxicating liquors. But the restaurant went out of business about two weeks ago. The option remains on Tuesday's ballot. If the issue is approved, the liquor permit would transfer with the lease, McCabe said.