Manager Jeremy Jones of the newly reopened Mahoning Valley Country Club petitioned supervisors for a letter stating the bar and restaurant operation in the club is a permitted use so that the new owners can reapply for a liquor license which was either lost or expired under the ownership of Mr. Oliver Angelus.
"We need a letter from you stating the bar and restaurant operation is a permitted use so we can re-apply for the liquor license. We are not changing anything and plan to leave everything the way it has been," Jones said to supervisors.
Township Chairman John Wieczorek asked Zoning Officer LeRoy Leibenguth, who was present, what the procedure is for Jones to secure the letter he needs for the application. Leibenguth said the country club would need to reapply for a permit to run the bar and restaurant. He would be required according to the zoning law to deny the permit.
After they receive the denial, Jones could then appeal for a variance from the zoning board which would be required to listen to his case. If they would approve the variance, then the supervisors would be able to provide the necessary letter.
Jones asked if there was any possibility of avoiding that since the restaurant and bar had been previously operating. Wieczorek said he believed that since the operation was closed around August 2008, that option probably wasn't viable due to the amount of time between then and now.
Solicitor Tom Nanovic said the grandfathering issue does help with the permit, but when Jones appears before the zoning board it is a possible argument for obtaining the variance.
Jones asked how soon he would be able to obtain a hearing and Leibenguth said if he applied for the permit immediately so the process could begin, the earliest opportunity would be at the June 1st zoning meeting. There would not be enough time for the May 4th meeting due to the notices and advertising that must precede the hearing.
There was some lack of certainty as to the fate of the previous license. Some of the supervisors believed the license was seized while others thought it was just allowed to expire or sold to someone else. Jones said he believed the license expired and due to Angelus' lack of payment on taxes or bills, the PLCB did not renew the license. "I'm pretty sure it is expired since I took it off the wall to get some information from it today," Jones said.