In his post on May 20, Matthew Grosh addressed the effect of the referendum lifting the alcohol sales ban in West Lampeter Township. Yesterday morning an article in the Intelligencer Journal addressed some of the same issues. As there is a significant amount of local interest in this issue, I would like to provide some additional clarification regarding the process of obtaining a liquor license.
There are several types of liquor licenses available in Pennsylvania, including retail, specialty and hotel licenses. Many establishments that serve alcohol hold retail licenses, which are subject to Pennsylvania Liquor Code quota requirements. The Liquor Code limits the number of retail licenses to one per each 3,000 residents of a county. This quota often requires entities seeking to obtain a license to purchase an existing license and subsequently transfer it from the current owner. If the license is owned by an establishment in a different municipality, approval by the municipal governing body is required prior to approval by the PLCB. An inter-municipal transfer adds time and expense to the process of obtaining a liquor license.
Hotel liquor licenses are not subject to quota requirements. In order to obtain a hotel license, the licensee must meet criteria specific to hotels, including maintaining a certain number of guest rooms based on the population of the municipality. Representatives from Willow Valley have indicated that the resort will apply for a hotel liquor license. This allows Willow Valley to apply directly to the PLCB for the license, rather than having to purchase an existing license and request approval from the Township Board of Supervisors for the transfer of the license from a neighboring municipality.
If Willow Valley begins the application process in the near future, it is very possible that it will be serving alcoholic beverages by this fall.