Thursday, March 16, 2017

Giant Zombie Liquor Licenses in West Pottsgrove

You may soon be able to buy beer and wine at the Giant Supermarket in Upland Square.

Last night the West Pottsgrove Township Commissioners were informed that the application has been made and that a public hearing will be held at the start of the April 5 commissioner's meeting.

Township Solicitor Joseph Bresnan Giant "has been very aggressive" in pursuing liquor licenses since it was legalized last year.

Last month, Giant received permission to sell beer and wine at a store in Phoenixville.

He said the company plans to have a restaurant inside the supermarket that will serve beer, and to sell beer and wine for take-out.

"Basically, they're trying to copy Wegman's," he said of the large supermarket in Upper Providence off Route 29.

Because the state has control over liquor licenses and parcels them out, they often can only be transferred from one entity to another, although ones that fall dormant are called "zombie licenses."

It is not clear which kind Giant is pursuing for Upland Square, but I will try to find out.

Also of interest last night was some clarity on the situation with the West End Fire Co.

Fire Company President Lori Eckman, who is also a lieutenant in the fire police, said the bar room at the firehouse closed last August because it was no longer profitable.

The fire company's operating budget is about $62,000 a year and that money will now have to be collected through fundraisers, said Township Manager Craig Lloyd.

There are between 30 and 35 active members currently and the finances of the company are currently being sorted out and consolidated.

Lloyd said several years ago, the township helped with the purchase of a new fire truck, and so scaled back on its annual contribution to the fire company.

Lloyd says the township also helps by paying for the fire company's worker compensation and liability insurance.

West Pottsgrove has no designated fire tax and so the amount and level with which the township gets involved in the fire company's finances is at the discretion of the township commissioners each year, Lloyd said.

More recently, it paid for the purchase of about $12,000 worth of hose and is involved in the purchase of new air-pacs which will ultimately cost as much as $125,000.

The township has offered to make the first year's payments, although that amount is not yet settled because the length of the payment plan has not been decided and the payments are related to the length of the plan.

That is why "discuss fire company payments" continues to appear on the commissioners agenda in the past few months.

The commissioners agree to consult with the fire company leadership about which payments they would prefer to take on before making a decision.

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