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New York Supreme Court Of Appeals Upholds Rejection Of Total Wine’s Westchester Plan

June 26, 2020

Maryland-based Total Wine & More’s plan to open a store in Hartsdale, New York was rejected yesterday in a ruling by the state Supreme Court’s Appellate Division. The court’s decision asserted that the “proposed store would not add to public convenience and advantage,” as there are 40 liquor stores within five miles of the intended location.

The court’s ruling rebuffed Total Wine’s claim that the liquor license denial was based on anti-competitive protectionism, political opposition, and the applicant’s non-resident status. “Even if we were to agree that the SLA’s (State Liquor Authority) determination was in fact partially based upon the improper justifications alleged by the petitioner, we would find that any such consideration would not warrant annulment of the SLA’s determination, as the SLA invoked numerous other rational and proper justifications for its denial of petitioner’s application,” the court said.

Thursday’s decision marks the third time in three years Total Wine’s plan to open a 21,093-square-foot store in Westchester County has been denied. In December 2018, the SLA rejected the plan and a September 2019 state Supreme Court ruling upheld the SLA’s decision.

Thursday’s ruling came on the heels of the SLA’s June 10 rejection of Total Wine’s proposal to open a 30,000-square-foot mega-store in the borough of Queens, New York City. The SLA also rejected an application from the retailer in 2017 to open a 25,700-square-foot store in Stony Brook on Long Island. The retail giant’s sole location in the state remains its Westbury store on Long Island, which has annual revenues of approximately $60 million.—Kevin Barry

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