Whitehall-Coplay Press

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Liquor license transfer approved

Wednesday, December 6, 2017 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

In-store dining also part of plan for Coplay’s Giant

On Dec. 5, Ellen Freeman, attorney for Giant Foods, and Josh Erb, Giant’s project manager for in-house restaurants, attended Coplay Borough Council’s public hearing regarding transferring a liquor license to the supermarket at Second and Chestnut streets.

Last month, council members had a host of concerns about how the business was working with the borough. Violations of certain ordinances were pointed out. The prime critic was Councilman Charles Sodl. He cited several instances and asked for a separate conference to discuss the details.

The conference was held Nov. 20, but the loose ends were not tied up until just before the meeting.

“I’m disappointed that it took them so long to get back to us,” Sodl said.

Freeman argued the delay was a misunderstanding.

During the hearing, Sodl backed off complaints about past problems and suggested that the revamp of the Giant supermarket to sell beer and wine, along with a provision for in-store dining, could detract from the sales at Samuel Owens across the street.

Council had a short deliberation before voting to allow the transfer. Council approved the measure, with Sodl voting no.

After the meeting, Erb said Giant was still on track with its original schedule.

“We are projecting to have the remodeling done in 2018. We should have everything ready to go by fall,” he said.

In separate action, the borough is looking to implement a quick ticket ordinance.

Quick tickets will be used for excess rubbish or garbage on a property, abandoned vehicles, high grass or unkempt landscaping, sidewalks not cleared of snow, etc.

As borough secretary Sandra Gyecsek explained, homeowners will get a red tag that will alert them to the problem and the need to have it cleared. There is a 24- to 48-hour time frame to bring the property into compliance. If the homeowner cannot meet the deadline, a quick ticket would be issued. Fail to pay a quick ticket, and the homeowner goes to court under existing ordinances with a substantial increase in cost.

“It’s designed so that we can get problems resolved and don’t need to have a long drawn-out process to get things cleaned up,” council President Louis Bodish said.

According to Gyecsek, who is putting together the crux of the ordinance, the system works well in municipalities that have tried it.

“Most of the people I talked to said the number of quick tickets drops off once the system is in place and problems get resolved,” she said.

Gyecsek said she will have a draft of the ordinance to the solicitor for review this month. Council is expected to act on the plan in February.

Council will have a couple of special sessions in December. On Dec. 7, council will review options and concept plans presented by architects on a new municipal building. On Dec. 18, council will meet to approve the 2018 budget. The final version of the 2018 budget is on the borough’s website, coplayborough.org.