Proposed changes at Winter Park Market include a liquor store
November 12, 2010
FRASER – Resident Meredith Lipscomb is hoping to open a new liquor store called “The Icebox” next to Winter Park Market on the south end of Fraser.
Her application for a liquor license with the Town of Fraser Liquor Licensing Authority will be heard at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 17.
Meredith said she envisions the shop with an extensive wine selection as well as beer and liquor. The remodeled, 1,500-square-foot interior would have an upscale finish and she has a few creative ideas to make the store different.
“Her ideas are so good that other people would want to do them,” said Winter Park Market and Cafe manger Mark Hanna, who added that the plan includes a makeover for his shops as well.
Winter Park Market, the natural food store located next to the recreation center in Fraser, and its sister sandwich shop Winter Park Cafe, are looking to combine under one store front with a better use of space.
The sandwich shop preparation area would be reduced to make more room for tables nestled between shelves of popular natural food products, including vitamins, camping foods and gluten-free items.
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The Icebox would go next door into the space where the market is currently located.
“I just have too much space right now,” Hanna said. “It’s a great opportunity for both of these businesses. They will really complement one another, I think,” Hanna said.
The Icebox would have the advantage of being the only liquor store located at a “Lift” bus stop, allowing residents and guests without vehicles to do both their grocery and libations shopping without a car, Meredith said.
For folks who prefer to walk or bike, the liquor store also would be located on the bike path, within a mile of Cozens Meadow, Kings Crossing, Hideaway Junction, the Telemark and many other residential communities.
It would provide an added convenience for folks who are headed home after a workout, Meredith half-joked. And it’s an easy stop for people filling up on gas at the Shell Station.
“I’ve always felt there’s been a need for another liquor store,” Meredith said. “Winter Park used to have two.”
Landlord and Grand Park Developer Clark Lipscomb added that the first phase of Grand Park’s village is in final design stages. Once complete, the new commercial hub will open thousands of square feet of new retail and restaurant space, adding to the need for more community services in the area such as the existing gas station and the proposed liquor store.
Eventually, Grand Park will be home to several square blocks of walkable commercial space in addition to its residential communities, the recreation center and the open space that is a growing hub for events and activities from the new farmer’s market and disc golf in the summer to Nordic skiing and the growing Dog Days dog-sledding event in the winter.
Before Meredith can put her plans into action she’ll have to get approval from the Town of Fraser Liquor Licensing Authority.
The last time somebody tried to get a new liquor store approved, next to Safeway in Fraser in 2006, the licensing authority determined that they failed to “prove a that the town’s needs aren’t being met by existing outlets.”
The 2006 hearing, which lasted until 1 a.m., was a low point in Fraser history, said Town Manager Jeff Durbin.
“It was completely out of control,” he added. This time, he hopes the hearing will be more civil.
The burden will be on Meredith and her team to prove that The Icebox will fill a need not already being met by existing establishments, Durbin said: “She can try to prove that in anyway she chooses.”
Most often this is done through a petition, added Town Clerk Lu Berger. Testimony is also critical, she added.
The quasi-judicial licensing board will hear evidence from witnesses on both sides of the issue, giving the most weight to residents living within the defined “neighborhood,” which holds the same boundaries as the rec district – from Winter Park to Tabernash.
“Needs” may only be addressed by residents of the “neighborhood,” but potential patrons may also speak to “wants” rather than needs. Their testimony will not carry as much weight, however, Berger said.
Testimony from non-drinkers and teetotalers, per state law, will be inadmissible.
“They are not considered ‘a person of interest,'” Durbin said.
Competition also may not play into the licensing authority’s decision.
The length of comments will be limited, but unlike a regular town board public hearing, it is important that everybody in attendance take a moment to state their position, even if it’s just saying, ‘I agree with the previous speaker,'” Durbin said.
The licensing authority will have 30 days to return with a decision after the hearing is closed.