Council approves liquor license for Warren business

Warren City Council has granted its blessing to an economic development liquor license for a Conewango Ave. business.

City Manager Nancy Freenock said that the city has received the application from Tom Pellegrino for Pellegrino’s Italian Market at 449 Conewango Ave.

Prior to Monday’s council meeting, a public hearing was held regarding the application.

Pauline Steinmyer, the lone commenter, said that she was “a little surprised” and “perhaps disappointed” that the residents from the area were not present to comment on the proposal.

“It’s a quiet residential neighborhood on a major street,” she said. “That area is residential. On that particular side of the street, it is dark.”

She expressed concern about traffic coming from the north at a high rate of speed, concerns about people driving impaired and concerns about patrolling with the property sitting so far back off the street.

During the regular meeting, Freenock told council that the criteria to consider are the proximity to other establishments, number of licensed establishments, traffic flow, the type of establishment, concerns from residents, proximity of establishments frequented by youths and whether the total number of licenses exceed one per 3,000 inhabitants.

She said there are currently 27 active liquor licenses in the city.

Tom Pellegrino told council the Conewango Creek-side restaurant is a “pretty unique eating establishment. (There are) a lot of people that love to eat outdoors. It’s amazing down there.”

He said he is often asked about alcohol options at the restaurant and added that “now is the time to really take the step and develop that property for the community. It’s a treasure.”

He added that for wedding receptions he is “trying to open up the whole package, trying to enhance it with this opportunity.”

“I’m all for it, I think it’s going to enhance our community,” Councilman Jim Zavinski said.

Police Chief Brandon Deppen was asked if he had any concerns and said there “may be some lighting issues” but “other than that, I don’t see any other issue.”

Councilwoman Elissa Davis said that “maybe it’s a small concern” but said that “it seems to me we have well exceeded our one license per 3,000 inhabitants. I don’t know how anyone else feels about exceeding that number (but) just would like to point that out.”

Freenock noted that there is a “pretty substantial amount of money Mr. Pellegrino is going to have to put on deposit with the Pa. LCB (Liquor Control Board).”

She described the $25,000 on deposit as a “major investment.”

“I’m here for the long run,” Pellegrino said.

Council agreed to the resolution supporting the application by a 6-1 vote with Richard Kolcharno voting in opposition.