Charles County residents unhappy about liquor store opening up n - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Charles County residents unhappy about liquor store opening up near Westlake High School

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Westlake High School in Charles County is getting a new neighbor, and it is one a lot of people don't want.

Next month, a liquor store is expected to open in a newly constructed shopping center just steps from the school and a daycare center.

Residents are upset and met Thursday evening with the President and Vice President of the Charles County Board of Commission to voice their concerns.

Residents say they feel like they weren't given a proper chance to raise their objections to the business opening.

The store, which is being named "Cheers," is in shopping center on Middletown Road.

Under current Charles County rules, liquor stores cannot be within 500 feet of a school. Cheers will be 506 feet from Westlake High School.

Some outraged residents have formed a group called Westlake Advocates. They fear a liquor store will attract loitering and possibly a criminal element.

"We know what happens when you have these late night stores open to the public,” says Westlake Advocates member Yvonne Jones. “There's theft from autos and everything else and property values will go down.”

Many say they do not believe they were properly notified before a license was granted to "Cheers.” According to rules, a liquor store is only required to notify residents and post a sign at the front of the store if they located within 500 feet of a school.

"All of it was in the paper was twice. It's in a very obscure area and it doesn't really meet today’s technology. People are tied to their devices. They don't read necessarily read the paper,” says Ivan Sherard, a member of Westlake Advocates.

Members of the Charles County Commission say they agree with residents that a liquor store near a school is a bad idea. But they say there is not much they can do since the stores owners appear to have followed proper procedures in applying for a license.

The commissioners say they will work with residents to find a possible solution that won't allow a similar situation from happening again.

"I want them to see that government does work for them and that we're going to be here and we’re going to do our very best to do everything we can to correct anything that was done wrong,” says Charles County Commission President Candice Quinn Kelly. ”And beyond that, to do what we can as government to make sure that we protect their children and don’t harm the businesses."

Residents are not giving up hope. They have requested information on the exact measurements presented to the Board of License Commissioners and the process used. Their hope is to find a mistake that will stop the liquor store from opening on September 1.

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