The owners of a convenience store in Washington Township are continuing their efforts to obtain the necessary variance which will allow six packs of beer to be sold on the premises.
During its meeting on Monday, the Washington Township Zoning Board granted Harsh and Biral Patel a continuance to provide further information on the operation of Meshoppen Beer & Deli Inc., and Food Express Meshoppen Inc.
The Patels appeared before the board during a formal hearing on Monday, asking for a variance concerning the selling of six packs of beer at the convenience store, located on state Route 6, near the intersection with state Route 87.
According to the testimony given during the hearing, Biral Patel owns the property, while Harsh Patel owns the business.
According to a township ordinance, a restaurant must have a minimum of 18 parking spaces, at 50 square feet per space. The convenience store has a parking space of 779 square feet, and can only accommodate 14 parking spaces. The Patels are requesting a variance that would them to operate a restaurant with only 14 spaces.
Attorney Joe Mashinski of Plains, representing the Patels, explained to the zoning board that because of Pennsylvania antiquated laws, they have to incorporate a restaurant setting at the convenience store in order to use the liquor license.
“There’s no liquor license for a convenience store,” he explained.
But even before the board could consider the request, attorney Edward Neyhart raised other concerns about the proposal. He pointed out that there is suppose to be a 15-foot set back between the parking spaces and road, as well as the adjacent property of the Russell Hill Methodist Church.
Member Gary Tewksbury said that he was serving on the zoning board back when it approved the plans for the convenience store - and one of the conditions was the set back concerning the parking.
“This was never done,” he pointed out.
Mashinski and Roger Soler, an independent contractor who is assisting the Patels with the project, said that a fence will be constructed between the convenience store and the church to provide the set back.
Neyhart said this would be fine, but noted that there’s no fence shown in the submitted plans.
Another concern raised by Neyhart and members of the zoning board was how would selling beer affect the traffic patterns at the convenience store. Neyhart explained the store had previously been granted a highway occupancy permit, outlining that the store would not have an adverse affect on local traffic patterns.
At Mashinski’s request, the zoning board voted to grant a continuance for the hearing. He said that they will submit the additional information to the board, but could not provide a specific date when that will be done.