Borough Council just says 'no' to beer license request

September 12, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Chambersburg Borough Council on Monday just said "no" to the transfer of a malted and brewed beverage license to a proposed site in the Third Ward after hearing the objections of community residents.

Michael Hennessy of Chambersburg applied for an intermunicipal transfer of a license from an unnamed Washington Township licensee to a proposed business he plans to open in the 600 block of South Main Street. The request was denied on a unanimous vote of the eight council members in attendance.

About 30 people attended Monday's public hearing, all but one of whom protested the plan.

The Rev. Edgar Scott of the Greater Good News Church of God in Christ was among several pastors in attendance. He said he had notified several churches of the hearing.

"I wanted these shepherds to know what was about to happen to their sheep," he said. Scott listed three homicides and other crimes that had occurred at bars in the Third Ward dating to 1981, calling them "magnets for crime."


"I do not want the Third Ward ... to become the watering hole of Chambersburg," Scott said.

Hennessy told the council he intends to take the former convenience store and open a restaurant that would sell beer and food and have drive-thru beer sales. It would later be expanded to include a dry cleaning business he owns at another location and possibly another business or restaurant, he said.

The dry cleaning business cannot move yet because it has a lease, and the site is not financially viable with just one business, Hennessy said.

Other residents objected to selling beer at the site because there is a ball field across an alley to the rear of the property and children's safety could be threatened by impaired drivers.

"We definitely have a problem with alcohol going there," said the Rev. Rondo Nael of the St. James AME Church. Residents would picket the business until it closes, he said.

Third Ward Councilwoman Elaine Swartz said she opposed the plan because there are too many bars in an area with a high crime rate.

The resolution to deny the request was based on the incidence of alcohol-related crime, the existing concentration of bars, its proximity to a recreation area and the testimony of witnesses.

Hennessy said he will appeal the council's decision to the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.

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