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Waynesboro Council approves liquor license for Hoover House

November 04, 2004|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, PA.- A request to transfer a liquor license from a Chambersburg, Pa., establishment to the new owners of the Hoover House on West Main Street was approved unanimously without comment Wednesday by the Waynesboro Borough Council.

The request was made by John and Barbara Persun, who bought the 92-year-old Waynesboro landmark earlier this year. The couple wants to turn the stately 15-room home at 227 W. Main St. into an upscale, 50-seat, period-style tavern and restaurant on the first floor and make living quarters for themselves on the two top floors, Barbara Persun said following Wednesday's meeting.

The council held a public hearing on the Persuns' request on Oct. 20. Three area tavern owners were there to protest the license transfer.

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Pennsylvania liquor laws allow one license per 3,000 residents.

The quotas were established in the 1930s following the repeal of Prohibition.

Several bar owners who attended the October hearing sat quietly through Wednesday's council meeting.

They said afterward that they felt there already were too many licensed establishments in the borough.

John Miller, owner of Pappy's Pub at 220 W. Main St., across from the Hoover House, said the bar owners are asking the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to hold a public hearing in Waynesboro on the Persuns' request.

The state board has the final say in license transfers.

James Strong, the Persuns' attorney, said the application process with the liquor board could take up to four months.

Liquor licenses can be sold or transferred in Pennsylvania. The bar owners and the Persuns agreed that the average selling price of a license in Waynesboro can run from $100,000 to $150,000.

Miller said there are three state-licensed establishments within two blocks of the Hoover House.

"It's just one more place to drink," Miller said. "Waynesboro is going to get the reputation of having a bar on every corner."

Donald Truett, owner of the Park Tavern at 132 E. Fifth St. across town, joined Miller and Debbie Rager, owner of Mathias Restaurant at 300 Cleveland Ave., in opposing the Hoover House plan.

Rager said there is nothing personal in the bar owners' opposition. "We all have to find a way to co-exist. We don't have the economic structure to support another place," she said. "Waynesboro is a blue-collar town. God bless them if they make it."

The bar owners agreed that the clientele that the Persuns expect to patronize their new restaurant won't be the same as those who enjoy their establishments.

"There's no other place like this in Waynesboro," Barbara Persuns said. Their restaurant will not be competing for the local tavern business, she said.

MaryBeth Hockenberry, executive director of the Greater Waynesboro Area Chamber of Commerce, spoke in support of the Persuns' proposal at the October hearing, saying the area is growing and needs another restaurant to help with the revitalization effort of downtown Waynesboro.

It could not be learned Wednesday when and if the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board would schedule a hearing.

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