Franklin Township voters approve liquor license
By J. Chambless
Voters in Franklin Township overwhelmingly want to allow alcohol sales in the township, judging by their May 21 vote of five-to-one in favor, 659 to 183.
Back in March, the Board of Supervisors moved to put the question on the ballot in an effort to improve amenities for residents and spur some revenue. Board of Supervisors chairman John Auerbach said at that time that he was in favor of allowing alcohol sales, he realized that the task was a large one.
“I had serious doubts about gathering the 558 signatures required in the short time period required by Chester County Voter Services [Feb. 19 to March 12],” Auerbach said. But enough residents approved to get the petition filed with Chester County Voter Services on March 8.
Auerbach feels that a restaurant offering alcohol sales would be a benefit for residents who now have to travel outside of the township. “The primary benefit would be the facility, with some tax revenue as secondary benefit,” he said. “The increased value of a facility property would yield some real estate tax, and the employees would pay a 0.5 percent EIT.”
This week, Auerbach followed up the successful ballot vote by saying, “I am pleased that the referendum favoring alcohol sales in Franklin was approved by voters. The primary objective of the change is to provide an opportunity for a fine dining restaurant which would benefit all residents.
“The downside of possibly getting an undesirable establishment will be limited by several factors. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board sets two quotas for licenses related to retail sales of liquor, wine, and malt and brewed beverages,” Auerbach explained. “The first is a quota for the number of licenses in Chester County: One per 3,000 residents. The second is a quota for the number of licenses in Franklin Township, which is one per 3,000 residents. Since Franklin has approximately 4,500 residents, only one liquor license would be available.
“Additionally, the board does not issue new licenses, and a proprietor must purchase an existing license in a private deal. The current value of a license is approximately $500,000. This economic barrier will limit opportunities for less desirable establishments.”
Auerbach recognized the 35 volunteers who helped get the word out. “Determined volunteer petition circulators went door to door, collecting the required 558 signatures necessary to place the referendum question on the ballot,” he said. “In spite of very bad weather in March and many other negative factors, they collected 662 signatures.
“Over years I have been on the Board of Supervisors, various opportunities for restaurants have made inquiries, only to be lost when the dry status of the of the township was revealed. For the time being, we can only wait to see if the any recent inquiries reappear.”
For updated township information, visit www.franklintownship.us.
To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email email@example.com.