Alcohol has been banned in East Hopewell Township, Pa., since 1935. The Stewartstown, Pa., property is eligible for a liquor license, but must get 400 signatures from residents and then pass a vote to be allowed to serve wine and beer.
Pleasant Valley Golf Club in Stewartstown, Pa., wants to sell beer and wine—but first it has to work around a ban on alcohol in East Hopewell Township dating back to 1935, the York (Pa.) Daily Record reported.
The township is one of the 45 York County municipalities that prohibits retailers from selling alcohol. That township ban has been cutting into the golf course’s bottom line, said co-owner Susan Zeiler.
“The times have changed,” Zeiler said. “It’s kind of odd to have a golf course that doesn’t sell beer. And [golfers are] leaving. They’re going to other townships or neighboring states.”
The privately owned, public golf course is eligible for a golf course liquor license, said Shawn Kelly, Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board Spokesman. Because the township is dry, however, Pleasant Valley must petition residents and get a vote passed to allow the golf course to serve, the Daily Record reported.
Starting February 14, golf course staff will have three weeks to get 400 signatures from residents who voted during the last election, Zeiler said. If the golf course does get the needed signatures, residents will be able to vote on whether to allow the golf course to serve beer and wine during primary elections this May, the Daily Record reported.
East Hopewell Township doesn’t have much control over the matter, said Martha Miller, the township’s secretary treasurer. “It’s not the township’s decision to make,” Miller said. “It’s really up to the election process.”
Other golf courses have succeeded in getting those exceptions, Kelly said. The most recent one was approved in 2015 in Fayette Township, Juniata County, the Daily Record reported.
The ability to sell beer would be “very significant,” Zeiler said. Golfers have been allowed to bring their own beer to the golf course for decades. Now, she’d be able to provide those drinks on-site. In addition, beer and wine would add to the company’s full-service restaurant business, the Daily Record reported.
That’s been a winning strategy at Grandview Golf Course in Dover Township, said Steve Chronister. The restaurateur and former golf pro opened the second Brewvino restaurant at the golf course last summer. Chronister was taking advantage of Dover Township’s recent repeal of a ban on alcohol sales, a move that has added both golfers and restaurant customers, the Daily Record reported.
Zeiler hopes the ability to sell beer and wine would add business to her golf course in a similar way. The golf club would be allowed to sell carry-out beer, which means that people who might never visit the golf course would have a reason to come in. From there, those people might become customers at the restaurant and could even end up taking a golf lesson, the Daily Record reported.
Zeiler emphasized that she isn’t seeking to repeal the township’s law, but rather to get an exception to it. “Plenty of residents like that continued ban. However, other residents find it to be kind of old-fashioned.”