Harrison turns thumbs down on restaurant/6-pack shop
There won't be a take-out restaurant and six-pack beer shop adjacent to the Exxon gasoline station/convenience store in the Birdville section of Harrison.
The township commissioners on Monday night turned thumbs down on a request by NH Restaurant Corp. to open a small restaurant and take-out beer store inside a former car wash at 2602 Freeport Road.
NH Restaurant had hoped to transfer a license from a closed tavern in Etna to Harrison.
Under state Liquor Control Board regulations, the municipal government must act on a request for a license transfer across municipal lines within a county.
Attorney Marc Reisman of the Gelman & Reisman Law Offices said during Monday's public hearing that the property owners wanted to have a limited menu like hamburgers and pizza in a 30-seat establishment in the former 800-square-foot car wash.
Reiseman said to refit and modernize the car wash would be cost-prohibitive.
He said the gasoline station/convenience store owners are reacting to other companies that sell beer in such settings, such as Giant Eagle's GetGos.
“You have Wal-Mart, Sheetz and others wanting to get into gas and beer establishments,” Reisman said.
Adjacent business owner David Pakulski objected to the plan. He said traffic would increase and there wasn't enough room on the property, citing gasoline delivery trucks that impact his parking area.
Robert Singer, longtime owner of the Do-Drop Inn across from the Exxon, inquired about an LCB 200-foot proximity law between liquor licensees.
Singer told the commissioners that they should consider family-owned businesses that “have been around for more than 50 years.”
Reisman said Mike Thacker owns Exxon, despite it being a national name brand.
Neighbor Ron Baxter said he didn't see “a reason for more alcohol in the immediate area.”
Others doubted 800 square feet would be enough to house a restaurant eating area, cooking area and six-pack storage area. They also questioned whether there's sufficient room for parking.
Commissioners President George Conroy said he was concerned the nearest residence was 29 feet from the wall at the rear of the Exxon lot.
No one other than the applicants spoke in favor of the proposal.
Commissioners voted 4-0 to reject the request because of the concerns voiced by residents.
Commissioner Robin Bergstrom abstained because her family owns a beer distributorship near the proposed location.
Township Solicitor Charles Means said NH Restaurant Corp. has no appeal of the ruling.
Resiman said after the meeting that he had no further comment.
George Guido is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.