Food & Drink

Wine Country’s Request to Relocate Approved by South Plainfield Borough Council

46bba982dbe3e7dcff29_IMG_8993.JPG
Wine Country will relocate to a vacant Maple Avenue storefront between Ciccio's and Dunkin Donuts. Credits: Victoria Caruso
46bba982dbe3e7dcff29_IMG_8993.JPG

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The South Plainfield Borough Council, at its first public meeting of 2018, granted Wine Country’s restriction request, allowing the beer-liquor-wine distributor the right to relocate from one area of the municipality to another. While the council’s 5-0 vote means Wine Country can move out of the Hadley Center and into the Maple Avenue shopping center, it also means the business must adhere to specific restrictions and requests.

With its lease expired, Wine Country sought to move to the center of town but, under borough code 136-6, a liquor license within the municipality cannot be transferred to a premise within 2,000 feet of any other licensed establishment. With the proposed location –a vacant storefront between Dunkin Donuts and Ciccio’s – falling within 2,000 feet of three local businesses with liquor licenses – Flanagan’s, Paulo’s and KC’s Korner – a restriction waiver was required.

In rendering its decision, the council was instructed by its attorney Paul Rizzo to consider factors such as the neighborhood and how the transfer would affect the community and other nearby licensed establishments (only Flanagan’s opposed the relocation) along with comments made by the public during Monday night’s meeting only.

Sign Up for E-News

Councilman Jon Dean expressed concern that kids who typically hang out at the shopping center would be standing ‘outside a liquor store’ to which attorney Walter Abrams told the council that his client’s business is not an establishment ‘where people would be coming out carrying pints.’

Councilwoman Christine Faustini questioned the type of security system Wine Country would have in place. In addition to interior cameras for store use, Faustini requested that, if granted the waiver, Wine Country install an outdoor security system. Having one in place, she said, would not only improve safety, but also deter someone who is underage from trying to make a purchase.

Additionally, Mayor Matt Anesh, with support from the council, requested that individual ‘mini’ liquor bottles – such as the 50ml bottles of rum vodka, etc. typically on display and for sale near registers – not be available for purchase at the new location. “We don't want people walking out of there and consuming them as soon as they hit the sidewalk,” said Anesh. “Also, the shopping center attracts a lot of minors and the council is not comfortable with these being sold at this location.”

Scott Maybaum, who has owned Wine Country at the Hadley Center for the past 10 years, publicly assured the council that he will install the security cameras; property owner Michael Murray, who was also at the meeting, confirmed. Maybaum also agreed to the council’s request that the ‘mini’ liquor bottles not be sold; there is no ban, however, on them being included as part of gift sets and/or baskets.

During Monday night’s meeting, the public was offered an opportunity to speak out for or against Wine Country’s liquor license transfer with Calvin Gross the only resident to take to the podium. Gross opposed the store’s relocation, citing the proposed site’s close proximity to Witty’s on Plainfield Avenue and questioning the need for ‘another liquor store’ in the borough.

“Who established that we needed another liquor store this close?” asked Gross, telling the council, “You are my governing body and you set the standard so if you don't want something, you can say no…but my question still remains…What’s the need?”

Borough leaders, however, stated that Wine Country is not an ‘additional’ liquor store but rather an existing one seeking to transfer its license to a new location. Maybaum told TAPintoSouth Plainfield that while he could have renewed the business’ lease at its current site or relocated within Hadley Center – the former Sears Outlet next to Five Below was an option – he chose the center of town because it would enable the business to be ‘part of the community.’

“In my experience, when you are closer to the community, you become more connected to the community and take an active role. Where we are now, on the other side of town, the population isn’t long-term like the population is here, in the center of town,” said Maybaum, adding, “When you are closer to the community you have a chance to really work with them, take part in events, sponsor activities, be a part and take part.”

Wine Country signed a lease with Maple Avenue property owner Michael Murray last year, contingent upon the council’s decision and, with the council’s approval, can now begin transitioning the business over. The store will remain open at Hadley Center while interior renovations at the Maple Avenue site are performed with the goal of transitioning completely around March 1.

 “I am looking forward to moving here… It will be a nice change to be closer to the center of town and the community itself,” said Maybaum. 

TAPinto South Plainfield is South Plainfield’s only free daily paper. Sign up to get all the news as it happens at www.TAPinto.net/enews and follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SouthPlainfieldTAP/ and on Twitter at @SoplainfieldTAP.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

South Plainfield

Obituaries

Steven Zarra, 63, affectionately known as Poppy by his grandchildren, passed away unexpectedly on ...
Read more

Letters to the Editor

Carly Kensey Graduates from ECU

July 13, 2018

GREENVILLE, NC -- Carly Kensey of South Plainfield graduated with a BA-Psychology from East Carolina University during spring commencement exercises May 4 in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

The fireworks capped off a new format for ECU's 109th spring commencement ceremony, which was held in the evening for the first time.

The keynote speaker for commencement was Linda McMahon, administrator of ...

Community Happenings

Adult “crafternoon” at the South Plainfield Public Library

July 15, 2018

Crafting isn't just for kids anymore!  Come to the South Plainfield Library on Saturday July 28 at 2pm for a fun filled “crafternon” for adults with crafter Patricia Dahl.  Crafters will be decorating a wine bottle. We will supply all the materials, just come and enjoy! If you have a glue gun at home, if you could bring it to the craft program.  Registration is ...

Suburban Woman’s Club Welcomes You

July 15, 2018

The Suburban Woman’s Club of South Plainfield is welcoming new members. Enjoy creative fund raisers, interesting activities while participating on standing committees, informative monthly programs, and the camaraderie of women whose efforts enhance the community. The club meets at 1:00 PM on the first Thursday of each month, September through June, at the American ...

Columns

Lucia, Lucia by Adriani Trigiani

Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani (Ballentine Books, 2003)

 

If a summer romance novel is what you are craving to read as you sit by the pool or beach, Adriana Trigiani's Lucia, Lucia is a perfect choice. Set in 1950 New York City, the novel is about a young woman, Lucia Sartori, who is determined to have a career and be able to support herself, an unusual choice for a girl who was ...

Bookmarks

Time for news from your friendly neighborhood AIR-CONDITIONED South Plainfield Library:

            First, a reminder that we’ll be closed on Sundays for the rest of the summer.  Our other operating hours remain the same.

            Turning to our very active schedule of ...

Press Releases

Creating a Dynamite Job Portfolio

July 16, 2018

The job market continues to change, as does the way we look for work. This Workshop examines the value of presenting yourself as a complete package by using a resume as an introduction to an employer and backing it up with a portfolio presented at the interview.

How You Will Benefit:

Learn how to brand yourself and define yourself using descriptive language.
Explore the essential ...

5 Simple Ways to Save Water this Summer

According to the L.A. Times, the average American uses an estimated 98 gallons of water EACH day.  

Here are five simple ways you can save water, to help you conserve water this summer and take some pressure off of your drains.

1. Unless you are using it, turn the faucet off. How many of us still leave the water running while we shave or brush our teeth?According to ...