Brookhaven Councilwoman Susan Rendler-Truesdale looks on as borough resident Debbie Barcus signs the petition. If successful, the issue will be on the May 21st primary election ballot. Loretta Rodgers photo

By LorettaRodgers
lrodgers@chesterspirit.com

With Brookhaven Council members manning the tables, hundreds of borough residents braved last Saturday’s rain and cold to sign a petition that could ultimately result in the borough securing a liquor license. The effort will continue. Councilwoman Susan Rendler-Truesdale said the required 1,096 valid signatures must be gathered and certified by March 12th. Petition-signing will continue at the borough office during regular business hours.

“I think having a restaurant that can serve liquor will bring in more revenue for the borough and make the town more appealing to businesses,” said resident Debbie Barcus. “It will definitely be an improvement.”

Council has been discussing the issue for months, and believes that having a family style establishment able to serve alcoholic beverages will be good for the community in many ways.

“Our goal is to have a family style restaurant like Olive Garden, Outback Steakhouse, or Carrabba’s open in our community,” said Councilman John Wilwert. “It’s tiring for our residents to have to leave town to have a drink with their meal.”

Brookhaven has been a “dry” town since its founding around 1682 and Council members feel it will be better for residents and local businesses if a license is granted. Council has made perfectly clear however, that it doesn’t want individual bars in the borough.

“We do not want a corner bar,” said Councilwoman Donna Fooks, “We really do want a nice, family-style restaurant that has the ability to serve alcohol in our borough.”

During a recent Council meeting, Solicitor Mike Maddren explained that for a referendum question to be on the May 21st primary ballot, it is first necessary to obtain 1,096 valid signatures on a petition.

According to Maddren, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) can issue one license per 3,000 residents of each county. Because the ratio has been exceeded in Delaware County, any license issued to Brookhaven will have to be an existing license transferred from another municipality in the county. Brookhaven Borough currently has a population of 8,000 residents.

If voters approve, license applicants can first ask the PLCB but borough Council has the right to reject up to the first three applicants; after that, license applicants must first be approved by borough Council before moving to ask the PLCB.

In short, any transfer must be approved by borough Council.

Real estate agent Karen Dauber, who signed the petition, said having a restaurant able to sell alcohol will help with home sales.

“A lot of young couples are moving to Brookhaven,” she said. “My view is that Brookhaven can be somewhat like a mini-Media. We have a lot of nice events and it will be great to see Edgmont Avenue booming with business.”

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