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Oakmont Speedway clears hurdle to sell beer, wine

Michael DiVittorio
| Monday, Aug. 6, 2018, 11:12 p.m.

Beer and wine sales may be coming soon to Speedway in Oakmont as borough officials approved a liquor license transfer.

Council voted 4-3 at a special meeting Monday night after a public hearing during which nearly a dozen residents voiced opposition.

“It’s a great location for Speedway, it’s a bad location for alcohol,” resident Kathy Satira said. “This is not what we need at the foot of the (Hulton) Bridge and near the turnpike.”

Council President William Benusa, Vice President Patricia Friday, Leah Powers and Justin Lokay voted in favor. Carrie DelRosso, George Coulter and Tim Favo dissented.

Favo and DelRosso cited traffic concerns and the gas station and convenience store’s 250-foot proximity to Riverview Junior/Senior High School.

“The health, welfare and safety of the community I think at this intersection cannot be overstated,” Favo said. He also commended Speedway for putting up $300,000 for a traffic light by Third Street and Hulton Road. That project was not approved by PennDOT.

Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board restrictions on granting liquor licenses state the board could refuse licenses that were within 300 feet of a school, church, hospital and other premises. It is not a state law, and there’s a bar/restaurant within 100 feet from a church in Oakmont.

Powers and Lokay said they spoke with some residents who were in favor of Speedway selling alcohol, and do not believe there would be additional traffic problems.

“Speedway’s trying to be a good corporate citizen,” Lokay said.

Some residents commended Speedway on its food and other services before objecting to it selling alcoholic beverages.

Resident Kathleen McQuillian expressed support for the proposal via email. It was read into the record by borough Manager Lisa Cooper Jensen.

“It would be a great convenience for us,” McQuillian wrote. “Also, I don’t see it as a concern just because it is close to the high school. The Wagner Beer Distributor was there when I was attending Riverview and it was never an issue.”

Favo noted the business was established before the high school.

Dan McCurdy, owner of the Oakmont Deli, said he was concerned about Speedway having a full-service bar with the license, and what would stop other businesses from seeking liquor licenses moving forward.

“I don’t really want one, but I might,” he said.

Speedway would have the 10th liquor license in the roughly one-square-mile borough.

The restaurant liquor license would be transferred from Robinson Kilt LLC, the former Tilted Kilt at 120 Andrew Drive, to the gas station and convenience store at 303 Hulton Road. Tilted Kilt restaurants closed in March.

Requirement for a restaurant liquor license include the establishment serve food regularly and have seating for 30 people in a designated space of at least 400 square feet inside the building, PLCB Spokesman Shawn Kelly said earlier this year.

Attorney Ellen Freeman, who represents Speedway, delivered a presentation prior to the vote. She showed pictures of a proposed seating area, beer cave, a designated alcohol sales register and said staff would be trained on alcohol sales.

The layout is similar to the GetGo in Verona, which sells beer and wine. All patrons would be required to show ID prior to any beer or wine purchase.

Speedway, should it get final state approval, would sell beer from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sundays. Wine sales would stop at 11 p.m.

Freeman said the company has more than 2,700 stores in 21 states with the majority of them having alcohol sales. She declined to comment after vote.

The chain has four stores with liquor licenses in the state. Speedway opened in Oakmont in 2014.

Now that the borough resolution is approved, Speedway could submit its license transfer application to the state and be subject to inspections and other control board screenings.

Kelly said there are no deadlines for PLCB actions regarding liquor license transfers or approvals to sell alcoholic beverages.

A final inspection of the facility would take place before any beer or wine sales begin.

Individuals and organizations can file petitions with the PLCB to oppose the liquor license transfer if desired. Any petition would be reviewed and a hearing could take place to determine whether to approve the transfer at the state level.

“There’s more process in front of us before the PLCB makes a decision,” Borough Solicitor Kate Diersen told residents at Monday night’s meeting.

More licensing and alcohol sales information can be found at lcb.pa.gov .

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, mdivittorio@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MikeJdiVittorio.

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