Dumm's Market Expansion Hits Permitting Speed Bump
Renovations on the Riverdale Park business are coming along, but the permitting process has caused delays.
Things were moving right along with the expansion and relocation of Dumm's Corner Market, until just a few weeks ago when the Spiropoulos family were surprised to learn that they still needed to apply for one permit.
The county's park and planning department, M-NCPPC, informed the family that they needed to apply for a special permit to sell beer and wine at the new location, which is located about 67-feet from the current location.
“All the grandfathering that Dumm’s has been subjected to is out the window,” said Dumm’s co-owner Jimmy Spiropoulos.
When the town council approved the market's move last spring, they and the Spiropoulos family thought the current store’s liquor license would apply. In fact, several months ago, the county liquor board approved the transfer of the current liquor license to the new location.
However, according to M-UTC guidelines, liquor stores are required to have special permits. Dumm’s had been grandfathered into the guidelines in the past, but because the store is moving to a new location, they would now be held to the new standards.
"The problem is we've moved forward, we've started the project," Spiropoulos said. "We can't stop now or we'll go bankrupt."
Spiropoulos says he can understand why the town would want to limit alcohol sales within city limits and knows that too many liquor stores in a community can be a bad thing. However, he says this is not true of Dumm's.
"This business is definitely an asset to this town, and it's how three families make their living," he said.
Now, Spiropoulos must apply for a special permit to sell alcohol at the new market location.
Currently, they are in the middle of the application process. They have sent letter to the location's neighbors, informing them of the situation, and they submitted their application for the special permit about a week and a half ago.
Next, they have to wait to face the liquor board. The county will create signs to hang on the business for the zoning change, and the signs must be displayed for 30 days. Spiropoulos expects that the hearing will happen sometime in January 2012.
Spiropoulos is grateful for the support the store has received from both the community and from Riverdale Park's town council and County Councilman Eric Olson, District 3.
"Dannielle [Glaros] and Mr. Olson's office have been nothing but helpful," he said, adding that they had really helped him navigate through the permitting process.
The town council, the town staff, and the town M-UTC committee all plan to send representation to the special permit hearing, to speak on behalf of and to show support for the expansion and relocation of Dumm's and the approval of their liquor license.
"People are helping us," said Spiropoulos.
They also put a petition in their store for local residents to sign so they can show their support for the store. The petition has already received more than 300 signatures. Spiropoulos plans on bringing the petition to their hearing to show that the community supports their business.
The construction and the permitting processes are moving forward on parallel tracks right now, so Spiropoulos is hopeful that that they will get the permit in time to open the store sometime in January or February 2012.
"I'm excited about what we're doing, but there are some hurdles," said Spiropoulos.
Though the permitting process seems to be going smoothly at this point, no one can guarantee Spiropoulos that they will be granted the permit, and that makes him nervous.
"We're spending a lot of money, and we won't make it selling soda and chips," he said.
According to Spiropoulos, the family has spent around $1 million on the renovation project.