Blue Point Grill's Liquor License Transfer Not Approved
At a hearing before the Newtown Supervisors on the March 9, 2022, , Blue Point Grill (BPG) sought to get approval for the intermunicipal transfer of Pennsylvania restaurant liquor license No. R-18026, formerly located in East Rockhill Township, Bucks County (Wagon Wheel Tavern).
Act 141 of 2000 authorizes the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to approve, in certain instances, the transfer of restaurant liquor licenses across municipal boundaries within the same county REGARDLESS OF THE QUOTA LIMITATIONS. Such transfers MUST be approved by the Newtown Supervisors.
Without comment from the Board of Supervisors, the motion to approve the transfer failed due to a lack of a second. A subsequent motion to deny the application passed 3-2.* View the video clip of the hearing below.
*According to the township solicitor, the BOS must meet again on March 18, 2022, to act on the application by resolution, which must be adopted in public session by a certain date (March 20) pursuant to the Liquor Code. At its last meeting, the Board only denied the application by motion (not shown in the video clip). Because a resolution must be adopted, there needs to be the special meeting. I guess we should have had 2 resolutions ready at the March 9 meeting - one to approve and one to deny - instead of assuming we only needed the approval resolution. Something to remember next time we are asked to approve a liquor license.
According to the PA Liquor Control Board (PLCB), a municipal quota of 1 retail liquor license per 3,000 municipal residents applies. If a municipality is under that quota, licenses may be applied for or transferred into the municipality without issue. If the municipality is at or over its municipal retail liquor license quota - which is obviously the case for Newtown Twp having by my count over a dozen liquor licenses - that municipality's authorities must approve the transfer of those licenses into the municipality. The approval must happen through written resolution passed at a public meeting. If a municipality refuses to allow a license transfer, the PLCB cannot transfer the license into that municipality.
I believe there are more than a dozen establishments with liquor licenses in Newtown and having more licenses to sell liquor would adversely affect the welfare, health, peace and morals of residents. The PLCB quota for NNT would be about 7 (21,000 residents/3,000).
BPG in Newtown should, IMHO, be a BYOB establishment just like the one in Princeton, which has the same owner as the owner of the proposed Newtown BPG. According to the owner, the Princeton BPG is very successful.
At the meeting I noted that such a restaurant located at 3 West Road (location of Corner Bakery) would require much more parking than is currently available at the location. This would require patrons to park in the lot across West Rd and cross that road to get to the restaurant – which led me to ask questions about how pedestrian safety will be assured.