Our opinion: Let public decide on alcohol

Add Pine Grove to the list of townships in Pennsylvania that could reverse prohibition-era bans on the sale of alcohol.

John Bortz, whose family owns the Cable Hollow Golf Course, is working to get a liquor license in Pine Grove for his golf course’s restaurant. Because privately owned public golf courses automatically qualify for a liquor license, all Bortz needs is a public referendum approved by Pine Grove residents to allow businesses to sell alcohol.

In addition to Pine Grove, the townships of Conewango, Eldred and Southwest in Warren County are still dry. Pine Grove has been a dry town for retail liquor and beer sales since 1939. Southwest allows beer sales but not liquor after a 1963 prohibition on liquor. Eldred banned both liquor and beer retail sales in 1947 and Conewango banned beer sales in 1935, but allows liquor sales.

Such prohibitions were the result of a choice state officials gave municipalities when prohibition was repealed — keep a ban on alcohol in place or allow sales of alcohol.

Bortz needs 120 signatures before Aug. 25 to place the referendum on the ballot for Pine Grove voters in the November election. While township supervisors and the ROAR revitalization group support his efforts, one never knows how deeply township residents feel about alcohol sales until they step into a voting booth.

Now isn’t the time to recommend one approach over the other, but we do hope the measure gets enough signatures to appear on the ballot. It is important for the people’s voices to be heard.


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