In a packed room tonight, Monday, September 26, 2022, many Town of Capitol Heights residents voiced their concerns regarding Sunday liquor sales for Bell's Liquor Store. Some in favor of selling on Sundays, some against Sunday sales, and yet some indifferent.
(Photo: Town Hall Meeting, Courtesy of TMC)
Bell's Liquor Store, on Old Central Ave, in the Town of Capitol Heights had previously requested support from the Town of Capitol Heights' Mayor and Council to receive a special Sunday liquor sales permit. In a Work Session, the Council took a straw pole vote to support the expansion. Owner, Mr. Ajay Patel, who was in attendance at the meeting felt that it was important to withdraw his application until hearing from the community.
"This is my community and I care about what the people want. I voluntarily withdrew my application until I could hear from citizens. I withdrew because I wanted to make sure my Town is with me," Mr. Ajay Patel told TMC.
The Laurel resident, says he has been a good business owner and employer to his employees for 23 years. Mr. Patel says that he would like to open up sales on Sunday because it drives business, not only for his store but adjacent stores as well. .
(Mr. Ajay Patel; Courtesy of TMC)
"My intention is very clear. I don't want to do anything against the Town. I want to be with the town...I can't have 100% consent. No one can, but I don't want to be a nuisance in the Town, I want to be an asset," Mr. Patel told TMC. "I welcome citizens to reach out to me with their concerns. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org".
During the meeting Councilwomen Anita Anderson, Amanda Anderson, and LaTonya Chew reiterated their reasons for supporting Sunday sales. One reason offered was because of the new-employment. "[Mr. Patel] has committed to hiring one or two additional Town residents to work the store--that's additional revenue," said Councilwoman Anita Anderson.
Former Mayor Shawn Maldon and former Mayor Marnitta King, while not supporting the sale of liquor on Sunday, also questioned what additional benefit could the store provide to the Town. "What we need is to ensure that we are getting something for our community. For example, a park, some kind of recreational center and other resources so that we are not just giving, but we are also receiving something of value," said former Mayor King.
Mayor Monroe thanked all the residents for attending the hearing and weighing in. She encouraged residents to continue to stay engaged with the happenings of the Town. "We have a lot of good things taking place in the Town. All of our meetings are public and we welcome citizen participation--always," said Mayor Monroe.