Whitehall-Coplay Press

Friday, December 13, 2019

Sheetz to seek conditional liquor license

Wednesday, August 7, 2019 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS Special to The Press in Local News

Sheetz will be back before Whitehall Township Board of Commissioners Aug. 12 in its quest for a liquor license at its Whitehall location.

However, this time, the gas station and convenience store at 5001 MacArthur Road is seeking a conditional license agreement that addresses township concerns.

Sheetz had asked for approval of a liquor license transfer from Homeslate Sports Bar & Grille in Slatington at the township’s April board meeting. The request was turned down when commissioners voted 5-1 to deny the resolution.

At a public hearing during that meeting, residents from a 55-and-up residential community located behind Sheetz crowded the meeting room to oppose the transfer request.

Sheetz appealed the township’s decision in Lehigh County court and now is proposing the conditional license agreement, which addresses concerns based on feedback from the board and community, said township attorney Sarah Murray at the board workshop meeting Aug. 5.

The agreement would require Sheetz to install signs that limit parking to 15 minutes to discourage loitering, as well as require security cameras and securing trash.

“It will give the township extra teeth to patrol the area,” Murray said.

The board was able to vote on the liquor license because it would be transferred from outside the township. A liquor license that is transferred from within the municipality does not require approval from the board.

The plan for the local Sheetz would include adding seating for up to 30 patrons near the entrance, expanding the store slightly. Beer would be available for take out in six- and 12-packs. Wine also would be available. Patrons would be limited to 12 beers and four bottles of wine. Although Sheetz is open 24 hours, alcohol would only be available from 7 a.m. to 1:45 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 1:45 a.m. Sundays.

In other business, commissioners received a petition and heard from several residents who are asking the township to install a speed hump on Water Street to slow traffic.

Resident Steve Brosky said cars speed down Water Street, using it as a shortcut.

Residents said the street is narrow and has no sidewalks, and cars go so fast it makes their houses shake.

“The street is 17 feet wide in front of my house,” resident Tony Jezick said. “There’s barely enough room for two cars to pass. It’s dangerous, and someone’s going to get killed someday.”

Resident Patrick Kuhns said his car was hit by another car as he tried to back out of his driveway, and it’s hard for him to even walk his dog.

“I’m up against the driveways trying not to get run over,” he said. “It’s insane.”

Frank Clark, township engineer, said a traffic study would be required before any traffic-calming measures could be taken.

Clark suggested a speed table might be best for the street.

“They are most effective but innocuous,” he said.

Speed tables are similar to speed humps except they are longer and flat-topped and provide a gentler transition than the speed hump.

Board President Dennis Hower said he would talk to Police Chief Michael Marks and ask him to have an officer patrol the area in the meantime.