By Luke Furman for The Beaver County Times
BEAVER — Council on Tuesday adopted an zoning ordinance that will limit the sale and production of alcohol to the Gateway Commercial West area of the borough.
Council approved the ordinance in a 6-3 vote. Prior to the meeting, council held a 30-minute public hearing at which residents voiced their opinions regarding the new zoning requirement.
Betty Burk, one of the two Beaver residents to comment, spoke favorably of the ordinance, but warned that it encroached on “touchy soil.”
“It’s going to be as good as it will get,” Burk said about Beaver’s alcohol laws.
Three council members, Alexander Andres, Daniel Deceder and Jarrod Thomas, voted in opposition to the ordinance.
“I don’t think there is a problem with the law the way it is. There have been no incidents,” Andres said. “Beaver is not the same town it was 10 years ago. There are more eateries and bistros and it’s hard to tell if it’s a dry community. Having limited alcohol consumption has been a contribution to a thriving business quarter.”
Deceder said “people don’t want it,” and criticized the effectiveness of the ordinance’s language and clarity.
Andres also questioned the measure saying that other businesses were not required to such extensive regulations of shrubbery, illumination and the designation of parking spaces. One provision of the ordinance requires the designation of four parking spots for customers refilling growlers.
Council President Mike Deelo said the measure’s adoption provided “a temporary conclusion” to the discussion of alcohol sales in Beaver.
“A larger number of people object to alcohol sales, and others had no problem,” Deelo said. “We want to provide people who are interested (in alcohol sales/production) to have a space available to them.”
Gateway Commercial West, the area council zoned for alcohol-related enterprises, stretches from Sassafras Street to Oak Street and contains 11 parcels of land.
The new ordinance will not affect Beaver Brewing Co.’s sale of beer at Waffles INcaffeinated, as it predated the new ordinance, nor will it affect many of Beaver’s BYOB policies.
The borough planning commission first discussed what eventually would become Tuesday’s ordinance at a meeting this past January.
Deelo said the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is engaged in a “continuous discussion” regarding laws and might make changes that would affect the municipality in the future.