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Chambersburg considers allowing alcohol on borough sidewalks

October 29, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The banks of the Conococheague will never be mistaken for the Rive Gauche, and Chambersburg will not be confused with Paris, but sipping a glass of wine at a sidewalk cafe could become legal in the future.

This week, the Borough Council considered amending its alcoholic beverages and public vending ordinances to allow people to imbibe at sidewalk cafes and during certain outdoor festivals. The measure will be the subject of a public hearing at the Nov. 17 council meeting.

"This is something that is done in several towns in Southcentral Pennsylvania," Mayor Peter Lagiovane said at Monday night's council meeting. Sidewalk cafes and beer and wine sales at outdoor festivals would help bring people and vitality to the downtown, he said.

The mayor noted that during AppleFest earlier this month the Roy-Pitz micro brewery had an event in a parking lot attended by 140 people with beer and a band and no problems.

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"I trust our fellow citizens to behave themselves," Lagiovane said.

The areas where sidewalk cafes would be allowed are limited, because there must be four feet of space for pedestrians to pass unhindered, borough solicitor Thomas Finucane said. Sidewalks along Main Street would be wide enough to accommodate a table or two, except where there are trees planted, as well as around Memorial Square.

A few other restaurants around town also have adequate sidewalk areas.

Resident Jay Lightfoot asked about Dave's Tavern at the intersection of South Main and West Catherine streets and was told the sidewalks there are too narrow.

"I don't see where drinking does any good" for the community, Lightfoot said.

Council President William McLaughlin said he did not expect to see the kinds of scenes that might occur in State College, Pa., after a Penn State victory.

"You don't have to worry about us winning a football game," said Lightfoot, perhaps unaware that the Chambersburg Trojans won their first game of the season last Friday.

If sidewalk cafes and outdoor alcohol sales proved difficult to police, Finucane said the borough could simply ban it, because the sidewalks belong to the town.

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