WHITPAIN TOWNSHIP

Local gas station aims to soon sell beer, wine

Whitpain supervisors approve liquor license transfer

(Credit: Rivage / Unsplash.com) One Whitpain gas station may soon be permitted to sell beer and wine after supervisors approved liquor license transfer.

  • Government

The Whitpain Township Board of Supervisors held a public hearing during their recent regularly scheduled meeting to consider a request for the transfer of a liquor license. The license, which is issued by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB), was formerly used for Fatty’s Bar and Grill, located at 812 E. Willow Grove Ave., Wyndmoor, Pa., in Springfield Township. The requestors, “646 Skippac Pike LLC” were requesting the transfer to use the license at a new location at 646 Skippack Pike, Unit 1, Blue Bell, in Whitpain Township.

Whitpain Township Assistant Solicitor Gregory R. Heleniak said that, if approved, the newly transferred license would be utilized for a “convenience store/gas station.” The LLC’s owner, AJ Singh, along with his legal representation, was also on hand to address any concerns from the public.

The hearing was previously slated for February of 2024, but was continued to April, and again then to May. Its final continuance pushed the hearing to July 2. State law stipulates that the receiving municipality’s government accept the new license prior to it being officially transferred. The state also permits only one license for every 3,000 inhabitants.

The applicant submitted his packet which included a floor plan and photographs of the planned future site. He said that the land, which is owned by Singh’s father through a separate LLC, was already a gas station, but did not have the convenience store added just yet. Singh hopes to add the convenience store aspect, once zoning issues are cleared up with the township.

Singh’s lawyer, Anthony J. Beldecos, noted that the planned convenience store would be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., six days of the week, while open Sundays 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and would employ two people. He said breakfast, lunch, and dinner items typical to a convenience store, such as pizza and hot dogs, would be available in the 30-seat space.

“Because the state does not have a market license in existence, so markets need to obtain a restaurant liquor license,” said Beldecos during the hearing. “The state requires them to satisfy the technical requirements of that by having 30 seats.”

Beldecos said this new addition to the gas station and car wash was more of a convenience store, and not a restaurant. An image of the Singh-owned Quakertown location was also included to show what the future Whitpain version may look like.

Whitpain Chairman Supervisor Scott Badami said that the supervisors must follow a rigid definition, put into place by the PLCB.

“We should approve this transfer unless the board finds unless it finds that doing so would adversely affect the health, welfare, peace, and morals of the township,” read Badami.

Beldecos testified that there will be a manager on-site, once the establishment is open for business, that has taken the PLCB “RAMP” certification course. The Responsible Alcohol Management Program (RAMP) is one provided by the PLCB in order to increase safety in locations serving alcoholic beverages.

“The concern, of course, is selling alcohol to minors or someone who is visibly intoxicated,” said Badami. “We don’t want them driving away, so you’ll have that trained person on staff whenever alcohol is being served?”

Singh confirmed there would, in fact, be someone on staff at all times with the required training. Singh has operated the Quakertown convenience store for nearly one year, with a newly added liquor license allowing for serving for the past four months. He has had no issues, he said, at his Quakertown store.

The location will primarily sell beer and wine, and not distilled spirits. Singh agreed to comply with local police to meet any recommended security needs.

Badami asked what the policy would be pertaining to “carding” customers.

“There is a device you can get and scan it,” said Singh. “The system that we have now, without scanning it, it won’t let you scan it.” He said that is the current system in place at his Quakertown location, as well. This means that all purchases will require a photograph identification with proof of age.

Whitpain Supervisor and Vice-Chair Jeff Campolongo wanted to confirm that alcoholic purchases would be consumed off the premises. Singh said they do not allow consumption at the Quakertown location and would not at this one either. It is not a state law, but an “in-house” requirement, he said.

Campolongo also asked if the scanner was down, how would the employees be able to check proper ID. Singh said that, firstly, RAMP training teaches servers and managers how to identify authentic ID versus fake. But he also noted, that at his Quakertown location, he keeps two scanners on-hand.

“Just in case that one goes down, we have the other one, as well,” said Singh.

Singh also confirmed there would be no gaming or entertainment units at this site. No public comment was made prior to nor after testimony in the hearing.

Campolongo made the motion to approve the license transfer, to which Badami seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

author

Melissa S. Finley

Melissa is a 26-year veteran journalist who has worked for a wide variety of publications over her enjoyable career. A summa cum laude graduate of Penn State University’s College of Communications with a degree in journalism, Finley is a single mother to two teens, Seamus and Ash, her chi The Mighty Quinn, and the family’s two cats, Archimedes and Stinky. She enjoys bringing news to readers far and wide.

Monday, July 22, 2024
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