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Youngstown rejects beer, wine for proposed downtown store

Published: Wed, April 20, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

By David Skolnick



The city’s planning commission rejected a request from the owners of a proposed downtown convenience store to sell beer and wine for carryout.

That decision came after Al and Fidaa Musleh, owners of the proposed store, failed to appear at Tuesday’s planning commission meeting.

Reached by The Vindicator after the meeting, Al Musleh said he and his wife didn’t receive a letter from the city about the meeting.

“We didn’t know about the meeting,” he said.

But Karen Perkins, the city’s zoning analyst, said the planning and zoning office mailed the letter April 8 to the Muslehs’ home.

The letter is a standard one, she said, mailed to all people with business before the planning commission notifying them to attend a specific meeting — Tuesday in the case of the Muslehs — or send an attorney or someone else to officially represent applicants.

The store, which would also be a Mediterranean deli, is to be located at 116 W. Federal St., the former location of Plaza Optical. The building has been vacant for about two years.

The Muslehs, who wanted to open the store in mid-May, needed a waiver to sell carryout beer and wine because they are within 500 feet of other regulated- use businesses, said Ray DeCarlo, the city’s zoning specialist. Those other regulated use businesses are a number of nearby bars and the Public Market convenience store on South Phelps Street.

“This was the last step before we were to open,” Musleh said.

He said the couple, who owned a grocery story and two gas stations in Youngstown, will contact city officials to see what can be done to receive the waiver.

The Muslehs can open the convenience store, but cannot sell beer and wine unless the commission reconsiders the request, said Bill D’Avignon, the city’s community development agency. They also can seek a waiver from city council, he said.

When the Muslehs failed to appear, city Law Director Iris Torres Guglucello, a planning commission member, recommended the request be denied. The board voted unanimously to reject the waiver.


1MattMarzula(109 comments)posted 5 years ago

Do we need another Arab owned liquor store? Do we even need another liquor store period? Don't bother by the way trying to call me out for my comment being racist. I already know it is.

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2jwhitehawke(110 comments)posted 5 years ago

Matt.........The city needs revenue. What business have you opened lately?

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3Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years ago

Will they have . . ..



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4MattMarzula(109 comments)posted 5 years ago

@ hawk, a hauling and plowing business since 09' smartass. Sure it's seasonal, but when I spend every other year overseas fighting terrorist and seeing the money trails from Middle-Eastern immigrants who sell beer to underaged kids in my hometown going towards weapons to kill Americans I sort of have trouble committing all of my hard earned, all be it miserable pay into a business in this area. Revenue? Maybe I should open a freelance ass-whipping and mouth-shutting business. Sure seems to be a market for it around here. After all, the potential for growth of a business in Youngstown rates pretty high on the national average... doubtful.

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5MattMarzula(109 comments)posted 5 years ago

And why do you soft-skinned liberals try to play devils advocate all the time and fan the flames of people who know more than you? There was a time when this discussion would take place over beers in a bar and when someone would make a true statement or raise a pertinent question like myself only to be caveated with a stupid question, I'd simply realize there was no arguing and fatten your lips to remind you not to open your man-pleaser unless you were willing to back it up. Something us conservatives do well.

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6ksem(23 comments)posted 5 years ago

I have to agree with the city on this one. We need a store downtown that is willing to step up and offer fresh foods and other quality products. If the owners appeal to the downtown work crowd and fill shelves with sustainable inventory, I think they will be pleasantly surprised at the success. If they cater to the non-professionals roaming the streets during the day by offering beer, wine, lottery tickets, junk food and tobacco products, then one would think other people may be deterred from entering the store.

Additionally, this store will probably be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. or thereabout. It is doubtful that people working in the city would be purchasing six-packs during the day and after work they have plenty of great establishments to support, Lemon Grove, Draught House, Café Cimmentos…. I’m not suggesting the city should be turning away business; however, in order for continued progress we need to start encouraging diversity on Federal Street. With all the new apartments downtown and YSU’s expanded connectivity to downtown, a niche grocery store is a must, and the Muslehs have a real opportunity to offer just that.

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7city_resident(528 comments)posted 5 years ago

ksem, well said.

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