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City Council Votes Down Six-Pack License

Business owners proposing deli on Lysle Blvd.; officials say process feels rushed

By Jason Togyer
The Tube City Almanac
February 02, 2023
Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

McKeesport City Council has rejected the transfer of a liquor license to a proposed sandwich and six-pack shop on Lysle Boulevard near Market Street.

By a 5-1 vote, council voted down a request from Sarabjit & Neelam Holdings for permission to transfer a liquor license into the city from Moon Twp.

Councilman Tim Brown cast the only yes vote. Councilwoman Jill Lape was absent.

At January’s council meeting, company representatives had expressed their intention to open a deli and six-pack shop in a former check-cashing store at the intersection of Market Street and Lysle Boulevard.

The location, in a strip mall that also houses a state liquor store, a Family Dollar and a Sherwin-Williams paint store, is currently vacant.

Sarabjit & Neelam Holdings also operates other quick-service restaurants and six-pack shops in Allegheny County, including ones in Homestead and Squirrel Hill.

Only beer to-go would have been sold at the Lysle Boulevard shop, and it would not be consumed on the premises, the company said.

Mayor Michael Cherepko and other city officials expressed their support for the concept of a deli on Lysle Boulevard, but said the company had not yet presented firm plans for the store.

State law requires a municipality to vote on a request to transfer a liquor license within 45 days. Council and the mayor expressed their frustration that the process felt like it was being rushed.

“I went past their place in Homestead and it looks like a first-class operation, but I don’t know how we can vote on this at this time,” Councilman Keith Soles said.

Community Development Director A.J. Tedesco said Wednesday that Sarabjit & Neelam Holdings did recently apply for an occupany permit on the 142 Lysle Blvd. location and have begun the process of receiving permission to open a restaurant from the zoning hearing board.

Cherepko and others said they were concerned that transferring the liquor license before the deli plans were confirmed could have unwanted consequences.

“I visited (the store) in Homestead, and spent about 10 minutes inside,” Cherepko said. “It is very nice. But every time you bring another liquor license into town, there’s a concern about what will happen if it doesn’t work out. I do agree with (Soles) that if we didn’t have to vote, it would be nice to wait.”

State law allocates liquor licenses to each municipality based on population. Each municipality has a quota of one retail liquor license per 3,000 residents. McKeesport has approximately 18,000 residents.

Once a municipality reaches its quota, the governing board of the city, borough or township has the right to reject any request to transfer a new liquor license into the community.

According to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, there are at least 27 active liquor licenses of all types within the city.

Originally published February 02, 2023.

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