Wednesday, August 27, 2008

City Council denies southeast liquor license, considers other matters

Lancaster City Council voted unanimously, Tuesday night, to deny a liquor license to a Brownstown applicant who had hoped to establish a combined bar, restaurant, and laundry facility at 911 S. Duke St.

Yuosar Khlok planned to take over the Tony's Cleaners and simply add a bar and restaurant component.

But his application ran into overwhelming community opposition at the hearing on August 12.

On Tuesday (Aug. 26), City Council echoed that public sentiment in rejecting Mr. Khlok's application.

"This wasn't necessarily an easy decision. There are many elements of this story that are so much like the American Dream... but there are times when, by no fault of their own, one person's dream can become another person's nightmare," said City Councilman Joe Morales.

Councilman Jose Urdaneta, who is also running for Gib Armstrong's State Senate seat this year, said that granting the liquor license "would not enhance the city's health, welfare, peace, and morals."

Concern had been expressed about installing an alcohol establishment in an area of the city already troubled with poverty and crime.

In other business, Tuesday night, a resolution was introduced to approve a grant application to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) in the amount of $185,200 "to plant 400 trees within the confines of the City by the end of the 2009 Fall planting season."

Councilman Tim Roschel, who chairs City Council's Public Works Committee, told NewsLanc that specifics as to where the trees will be planted has not yet been worked out.

As it was a matter under "new business," City Council took no action on the grant proposal at Tuesday's meeting.

Also up for consideration under new business is an arrangement between the City of Lancaster and the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Lancaster (RACL) in which the city sells to RACL its delinquent 2007 tax rolls, meaning that RACL pays the city up front for the delinquent tax claims with money borrowed from banks, and collects taxpayer payments themselves over the next couple of years.

City Director of Administrative Services Patrick Hopkins said the arrangement enables the city to use what would otherwise be delayed revenues more immediately and stressed that "the taxpayer will see no change whatsoever."

As a public entity, RACL will be able to secure a fairly low-interest line of credit, Hopkins said.

As an item of new business, City Council did not vote on the proposal, Tuesday.

Mayor Rick Gray was not in attendance at Tuesday's meeting as he was attending the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado with his wife, Gail, who is a pledged delegate for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.