Council considering ending alcohol ban for park events

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Photo by Chris Christian

A large crowd attends a free concert performed by The Large Flowerheads in Hellertown’s Dimmick Park in June 2019. Beer and wine are sold at the annual summer concerts, but only because the sponsoring organization has secured a waiver to do so. This will no longer be necessary if the borough council abolishes its obligation to derogate from the prohibition of alcohol.

For many years, anyone who plans to serve alcohol at an event in a Hellertown park must obtain a waiver, as alcohol is prohibited in borough parks.

Council is now on the verge of eliminating what amounts to bureaucracy for borough staff and event planners by abolishing the waiver requirement.

At the April 4 borough council meeting, council chairman Tom Rieger said other local municipalities no longer require a liquor ban waiver for every event held in their parks where beer, wine or liquor will be served. He said they had no problems either.

Rieger raised the issue of the waiver after Hellertown American Legion Commander Eric Medei requested a waiver from the alcohol ban for an upcoming Legion picnic at Dimmick Park.

The picnic “was a really big thing…back then,” Medei told the council.

Council unanimously approved the Legion’s waiver request.

Rieger noted that the number of alcohol ban waiver requests the Council has approved has increased in recent years, in part due to an increase in the number of events at which alcohol is available. for purchase, such as the annual free meeting of the Hellertown-Lower Saucon Chamber of Commerce. summer concert series at Dimmick Park.

Each waiver applicant must seek board approval for their waiver at a public meeting.

Rieger suggested that borough staff reach out to other municipalities for information on how they handle event permit applications without an exemption to the liquor ban.

“I think if we put controls on it…it’ll be fine,” he said. Other council members agreed and voted to approve a motion to begin the process of abolishing waivers.

Borough Director Cathy Hartranft said she would consult with her counterparts in other towns and get back to council with the additional information advice requested.

“Eric, you got your waiver,” Rieger told Medei afterwards. “We’re going to change the order so you don’t have to do this again next year.”

In other matters, council and meeting attendees observed a moment of silence in remembrance of two girls who died in a fire on Linden Avenue last week.

Several borough officials, including the police chief and the mayor, were absent from the meeting as they were attending a debriefing after the fire, it was reported.

The next Hellertown Borough Council meeting will be held Monday, April 18 at 7 p.m. in person at Borough Hall, 685 Main St., Hellertown, and online via the Zoom meeting platform. Meeting agendas are published in advance to Borough website.

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