Hearing set for license request for Applebee's

August 02, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - A request by Applebee's of Virginia Inc. to transfer a liquor license from Greencastle, Pa., to Washington Township is scheduled to come up for discussion at a public hearing Sept. 7.

The restaurant chain is planning to open a restaurant in the new Rouzerville Commons shopping center under construction off Buchanan Trail East.

The shopping center will be anchored by Wal-Mart and Lowe's stores and will be filled in with smaller retail outlets and restaurants, its developer has said.


State law permits licenses to be transferred from one municipality to another, providing the receiving municipality agrees. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board requires the receiving township to hold a public hearing before approving or denying the request.

The liquor control board also has to approve the transfer. If there is enough opposition, the liquor board will hold its own hearing.

State law says only one license is permitted per 3,000 residents in any municipality and only in towns and boroughs where liquor is allowed to be sold.

The quotas were established after Prohibition was repealed in the early 1930s.

The supervisors tried counting the number of licenses in existence in Washington Township and guessed the number at eight.

The last time a liquor license was transferred in the area was in the Borough of Waynesboro earlier this year when the owners of the Hoover House on West Main Street requested the transfer of a license from an establishment in Chambersburg, Pa. The owners are renovating the West Main Street building into an upscale restaurant.

Robert J. O'Hara III, a Pittsburgh lawyer representing Applebee's, said in a letter to the township that his client wants to transfer a liquor license from an establishment at 152 S. Antrim Way in Greencastle. The name of the establishment and whether it is still in operation was not mentioned in the letter.

O'Hara said Applebee's officials will answer questions at the hearing.

Liquor is "not a main attraction" at Applebee's restaurants, O'Hara said in his letter to the supervisors. The percentage of alcohol sales versus total sales is well below average, usually around 10 percent, he wrote.

"Many licensed businesses sell 70 percent or more of alcohol versus total sales," he said.

The Washington Township Applebee's will have a seating capacity of 150 and will accommodate individual diners and large groups. Applebee's restaurants are "very involved in their communities," O'Hara wrote.

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