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Latrobe police chief opposes Sheetz’s plan to sell beer and wine

April 5, 2018 GMT

The Sheetz convenience chain hopes to begin selling beer and wine at its Latrobe store, with the approval of the state Liquor Control Board and the support of city council.

Council will hold a public hearing at the beginning of its April 9 meeting to consider Sheetz’s proposal to transfer a restaurant liquor license from a Pizza Hut on Route 30 in Unity to the Sheetz store at Route 982 and Ligonier Street in the city. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m.

Latrobe Police Chief James Bumar urged council Monday to reject the proposed license transfer.

He said sales of alcoholic beverages would add to safety concerns at the intersection, which he noted is a main route between Latrobe and neighboring Derry Borough and is a frequent site of accidents.

City officials noted the last LCB restaurant license approved in the city was for Fox’s Pizza, in the Lincoln Road shopping center.

“This is going to be bigger than Fox’s,” Bumar said of the proposed Sheetz license. “Sheetz is a hub. ... I think that selling alcohol there is going to be a real attractive nuisance.”

City Solicitor Zachary Kansler said he wasn’t aware of any problems related to beer and wine sales that occur at a Sheetz store in Murrysville.

City Manager Wayne Jones said Sheetz would have to add seating for 30 diners at the Latrobe store under the license terms.

He questioned how the store also would be able to add a minimum of 15 parking spaces for those diners.

Spokesman Nick Ruffner confirmed that Sheetz plans to add seating at the Latrobe store in conjunction with the proposed liquor license.

“That project isn’t scheduled to be completed until July,” he said. “The earliest we could sell beer there is sometime in August.”

Bumar said he fears a repeat of frequent rowdiness that occurred at the Sandwich Saloon, a now-closed six-pack shop that had seating for diners and a salad bar.

It shared a property with the Sheetz store when it was located at a different corner of the same intersection.

“There were a lot of fights there,” Bumar said, indicating police “acted as their bouncers. It was a rough place.”

Kansler said the council’s approval would be advisory to the LCB, which makes the final decision on a license transfer.

But LCB spokesman Shawn Kelly said a license transfer can’t be considered without a supporting resolution or ordinance from the affected municipality.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6622, jhimler@tribweb.com or via Twitter @jhimler_news.