COLUMBIANA - City voters highly favored several liquor options on the ballot for two precincts Tuesday, and that approval has opened the door for new restaurants and other establishments to be part of a planned development along state Route 14, near state Route 7.
The liquor options were placed on the ballot by Tom Mackall, owner of Firestone Homestead LLC, which is heading up the planned Town Center and Marketplace at Firestone Farms.
Mackall was seeking approval of all alcohol-related sales, including on and off premises, and Sunday sales of beer, wine, liquor or other mixed beverages.
Each option passed by a majority, and effect C and D precincts, which make up the area where state routes 14 and 7 intersect.
Had the options not passed, those precincts would have become "dry," meaning existing businesses would have to forfeit their current liquor permits since the options were for the entire precincts.
Those permit holders included Valero, the American Legion, Tic Toc and BP across from the Dutch Village Inn, although they could have re-applied for the permits later, however.
Mackall has said that without alcohol sales it would be very difficult to attract the kinds of businesses he envisions for the extensive development he is calling Columbiana's version of Columbus' Easton Mall.
Those plans call for retail shops, restaurants and offices, a retail plaza, hotel, bank, grocery store, auto parts store and fast food restaurants, which will be located along state Route 7 near Prima Health Care and state Route 14 near the Columbiana Maze Craze.
The more high scale restaurants and grocery store would need alcohol sales, he has said.
The options passed by more than 70 percent in precinct C and more than 80 percent in precinct D, with significantly more votes cast in precinct D.
The average total votes for each option in precinct C was 120, while precinct D was around 315.
Mackall said prior to the election he was confident voters would approve the options. Now that they have passed architects will be given the go-ahead to complete detailed drawings for construction, which he hopes will begin later this year.
The development is solely a Firestone Homestead project, which purchased the 62 parcels of mostly undeveloped land at sheriff's sale in April of 2012.