2015-11-12 Council Minutes - Zoning Change

<style="text-align: center;" data-mce-type="text/css">HAZLETON CITY COUNCIL
<style="text-align: center;" data-mce-type="text/css">ZONING CHANGE PUBLIC HEARING
<style="text-align: center;" data-mce-type="text/css">THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2015

Council conducted a public hearing regarding a change to the Zoning Ordinance for Bring Your Own Bottle (BYOB) establishments on Thursday, November 12, 2015 in Council Chambers. The public hearing began at 5:30 pm.

In attendance were Council President Jack Mundie, Council Members Jeff Cusat, Jean Mope, and David Sosar, and Attorney Bob Cohen, City Solicitor.

Cusat stated the BYOB Ordinance was not changed. Mundie said this Ordinance needs to go to the Planning Commission first, and a public hearing is required. Sosar said the BYOB Ordinance addresses such things as special events, business operating hours, foods to be sold, etc., but there is nothing in the Ordinance regarding the use of powdered alcohol. Cusat said that would be covered under “any other intoxicating substances.” He said he sent the Ordinance to Harrisburg for review and their only concern was why this is only for certain zones. In their opinion, it should be for all zones in the City. Sosar said only special BYOB events would be held outside of commercial areas. Cohen stated this Ordinance was drafted by the Planning Commission Solicitor and he chose to put these zoning districts into the Ordinance. If this is changed again, Council would need to hold another public hearing. Sosar asked if the existing BYOB establishments would be “grandfathered” in. Cohen said that is addressed at the end in paragraph 2.32(f). If someone wants to open up a BYOB in a residential area, they would need to come before the Planning Commission and Zoning Hearing Board first. Grace Cuozzo felt this would be hard to enforce. Cusat said that according to the Liquor Control Board, the operating hours are 11:00 am to 2:00 am. The Chief of Police changed the closing time to 11:00 pm in the Ordinance. Cusat said according to the LCB, you need to have enough food for 30 people available for sale. Sosar asked if this Ordinance was changed at a later date, would the whole process need to be done over again. Cohen responded yes.

Grace Cuozzo, 948 James Street, Hazleton said this Ordinance will be hard to enforce and the places that are having all the problems are not BYOB establishments.

Norman Tarantino, 154 North Lee Court, Hazleton asked if this change to the Zoning Ordinance only affects those establishments without an LCB license. Cusat said yes. This is not for those who are covered under the rules and regulations of the LCB. Tarantino suggested BYOBs be required to charge a corking fee or a per bottle fee, which would then be turned over to the City. This would create some extra income.

Mark Rabo, 8 West 1st Street, Hazleton asked if this already went through the Planning Commission and Mope responded yes. Rabo asked if this is only being done in certain areas of the City. Mope replied that this is for commercial areas only. Rabo felt this should encumber all the zones in the City and it needs to address public nuisances. Sosar stated there is an anti-nuisance portion already in the Ordinance. Rabo questioned the special events exemptions and Cusat said these exemptions would only be in central commercial (CC) and commercial highway (CH) zones. Rabo asked who recommended this and Cohen said the original Ordinance was drafted by the Planning Commission Solicitor based on the BYOB Ordinance which was illegally passed earlier this year.

Mundie adjourned the public hearing at 6:00 pm.

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