Liquor License Approved for Dingmans Plaza Weis
By Wayne Witkowski
Pike County Dispatch - Thursday, July 4, 2019
DNGMANS FERRY -- Delaware Township supervisors, in a 2-1 vote after a public hearing, approved the request of Weis Markets for its transfer of a restaurant liquor license from the state Liquor Control Board for its planned store opening in 2020 at Dingmans Plaza on Route 739.
Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson voted against the request, expressing concern to attorney Weis representatives attorney Ellen Freeman and Senior Manager of Architecture Tim Snyder during the hearing about customers who would purchase and then drink beer at the store and then drive on local roads.
The Weis representatives did not specify where the license, auctioned to the LCB, came from but they had told the supervisors it previously covered another business in Pike County.
The supermarket next awaits a final approval by the LCB.
"In the road study you had with PennDOT, did you ask if they have had many drunk driving fatalities," asked Henderson, saying that there have been some in the past. The representatives said that was not questioned.
In her presentation during the 20-minute hearing, Freeman said there is a 3,307-square foot liquor department and seating area option for customers to eat food purchased from the store's salad bar or pre-heated chicken section, for example, and to drink beer or wine purchased within the 47,623-square foot store. She said there would be two or three employees licensed by the state to sell alcohol who would limit on-site consumption of alcohol to two standard 12-ounce cans of beer. Wine likewise will have restricted sales and consumption on-site.
"We now have another business that is selling liquor in the township," said Henderson in a tone of regret during discussion after a motion was presented to vote on the request.
Henderson said, "If approved, it's another alcohol-related possible problem that we don't need, especially with alcohol-related fatalities on Route 739."
"Two beers is not that bad," Supervisor Rick Koehler commented.
During the hearing, Freeman said, "There is a very low percentage of sales for on-site consumption (at Weis Stores)," explaining that the business model would follow the on-site bistros at four Monroe County locations opened between 2006 and 2014. "We want to bring that model to our new store."
During the hearing, Delaware Township Planning Commission Chairman Ron Hough, who said he has more than 30 years of supermarket work experience that includes management, pressed Freeman and Snyder to confirm that patrons would eat food and drink alcohol on site and if that area would be located in the supermarket itself. Snyder affirmed both questions.
Freeman said Weis has implemented a new policy of audits twice a year on the liquor department of each store to make sure it is compliant with state Liquor Control Board policies.
As for the Delaware Plaza construction project, Snyder said groundbreaking preparation would begin soon to determine the scope of work for a December groundbreaking. "We're looking to open in July," said Snyder, who said the project appears to be "routine" without any obstacles.
"It (the project) is zone appropriate with no impact on adjacent properties in the neighborhood," Snyder said.
Also at the meeting, the board approved advertising for bids for a new roof for the municipal building.
It approved a request by township Emergency Management Coordinator George Beodeker to move the county's Emergency Management Trailer donated to the township onto a private property where he can examine and work on it. Township Alternate Attorney Robert Bernathy, sitting in for law partner and regular township Attorney Tom Farley, questioned insurance coverage for the trailer while work was being done. He was told by the supervisors it's covered under Pike County insurance.
The board also approved sending Beodeker to a Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors Strategic Planning for Fire Service in Operations meeting on Aug. 9 at Upper Macungie Township at a total township cost of $69. Chris Kimble was appointed alternate to the Pike County Road Task Force.
During the workshop, considerable time was spent talking about the removal of three other cabins in Akenac Park expected to take place from mid-September into early October. It was discussed whether the fire department can run training exercises at each of them, one at a time, as it did when six other cabins that were removed last fall.
Roadmaster Vince Flatt expressed concern about youngsters going around the cabins and how the cleanup would be handled by the township Public Works Department.
"You can't have stuff lying around 50 feet from the playground there," Flatt said.
"All debris has to be left inside the cabins," responded Supervisor Jane Neufeld, who pointed out that procedure also has to be strictly observed because the township Harvest Festival occurs at that time.
"If we have all three cabins (are demolished) on one weekend and a contractor comes in that Monday, that can solve a lot of issues," Flatt said.