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Harmar Sheetz clears first hurdle for beer, wine sales

Brian C. Rittmeyer
| Thursday, May 18, 2017, 9:18 p.m.
Workers fasten flashing to the edge of the roof on a Sheetz being built along Freeport Road in Harmar on Monday, Nov. 14, 2016.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Workers fasten flashing to the edge of the roof on a Sheetz being built along Freeport Road in Harmar on Monday, Nov. 14, 2016.

A recently opened Sheetz in Harmar could soon be selling beer and wine.

Harmar supervisors Thursday approved transferring a restaurant liquor license from Stowe to Harmar for the Freeport Road convenience store, built at the former site of Shults Ford.

Township approval was the first of a two-step process. The Altoona-based chain will need approval from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

Sheetz intends to sell beer at the store in what is now a “soda cave,” said Paul A. Namey, an attorney with Flaherty & O'Hara representing Sheetz. It would also sell a smaller selection of wines.

No one under 21 would be allowed in the “beer cave,” Namey said.

Sheetz has more than 600 stores in six states. In Pennsylvania, 18 stores are licensed to sell beer and wine, Namey said.

Applications are pending for another 17 locations.

Namey said the company expects the majority of sales to be for takeout. Customers would be limited to two six-packs or four bottles of wine.

Consumption at the store would be “very limited” and not advertised, according to Namey. No wine consumption would be allowed on the premises, and there would be a two-beer limit.

The Harmar store has a drive-thru. No beer or wine will be sold through it, Namey told supervisors.

While the store is open 24/7, beer sales would be limited to 7 a.m. to 1:45 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and 9 a.m. to 1:45 a.m. Sundays. Wine sales would end at 11 p.m. every day.

Sheetz has not seen an increase in traffic to stores that are selling beer and wine, Namey said. Instead, sales are made to customers already coming to the stores.

Medical marijuana zoning approved

Medical marijuana operations will be limited to Harmar's regional commercial district.

Supervisors Thursday approved amending the township's zoning ordinance following a public hearing in which only one resident spoke.

Medical marijuana growing and processing facilities and dispensaries would be permitted uses in only the township's “C-2” regional commercial district, which is generally along Freeport Road.

The township's planning commission initially recommended allowing only dispensaries in the commercial area, while restricting growing and processing to the township's I-1 general industrial zone, covering a large area of the central and northern parts of the township.

But supervisors decided to allow both functions only in the commercial area after learning a group of investors was interested in locating a growing facility in a warehouse on Alpha Drive.

Supervisors have said the change better keeps medical marijuana operations away from homes.

As of late April, the state was still processing permit applications.

State officials said they expect to be ready to issue permits by the end of June.

The state plans to issue 12 grower/processor permits and 27 dispensary permits as part of the first phase of the program's rollout.

Medical marijuana in Pennsylvania will be available in pills, oils, tinctures or ointments.

The health department is regulating the program, which forbids smoking marijuana in dry leaf form.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4701, or viaTwitter @BCRittmeyer.

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