Conneaut Lake voters approve retail sale of alcohol

Keith Gushard
Meadville Tribune
May 23,2019

CONNEAUT LAKE — On Tuesday, May 21, the third time was the charm on whether there should be retail sale of alcohol within the borough of Conneaut Lake.

Unofficial vote totals from Tuesday’s primary show borough residents approving the retail sale of alcohol by an almost 2-to-1 margin.

Voters approved the question — “Do you favor the granting of liquor license to hotels, restaurants and clubs in the borough of Conneaut Lake?” with a 91 to 48 vote.

Conneaut Lake Community Development Committee, the nonprofit civic group heading revitalization efforts in the borough, sought approval as a way for additional economic development within the borough. Similar measures were defeated in 2015 and 2011.

Once the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board receives certified election results, the PLCB will accept liquor license applications for establishments within Conneaut Lake. However, residents in Conneaut Lake could file an appeal of the vote.

But when a county like Crawford County is over its quota of retail liquor licenses or malt beverage distributor licenses, the PLCB can’t issue a new license.

A license from another municipality within Crawford County would have to be transferred into Conneaut Lake, Sean Kelly, PLCB spokesman confirmed Wednesday. Licenses cannot be transferred across county lines, either.

An active license or one held in safekeeping could be purchased or transferred, Kelly said.

There are five retail liquor licenses in Crawford County listed as in safekeeping, according to the PLCB’s website.

Safekeeping status means the site is licensed, but not active. Any licensed establishment closed for 15 days or longer must submit its license to the PLCB to be held in safekeeping while it’s closed.

While Conneaut Lake has been “dry,” or not permitting the sale of alcohol until approved by voters, it doesn’t apply to producers since state law changed in 2015, according to the PLCB.

Home Brewing Co. of Conneaut Lake does have an active brewery license that permits on-premises consumption and off-premises consumption of its product, according PLCB records.