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Kutztown Borough Council requested the Wine and Spirits store close earlier to reduce binge drinking in the borough. Council also approved creating a resident advisory committee seeking ideas for addressing alcohol behavior concerns.
Council unanimously voted to send a letter to the Liquor Control Board requesting that the Kutztown Wine and Spirits Shoppe reduce its hours to a 7 p.m. closing time, which currently closes at 9 p.m.
At a previous meeting, Kutztown Police Chief Craig Summers said the lines at the Wine and Spirits store are at night on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and are the longest from 7 to 9 p.m. Summers had said that he believed closing the store a little earlier would reduce some of the impulse sales.
Derek Mace, council member, read a section of the letter to be sent to the Liquor Control Board, “After careful thought and deliberation, the Borough respectfully requests that the hours of operation be reduced.... we believe that if the store closes at 7 p.m. (that) it could reduce some of the binge and spontaneous alcohol consumption that occurs in Kutztown.”
Council also approved the creation of an informal voluntary advisory commission, the Citizens Quality of Life Advisory Committee, consisting of Kutztown residents that would advise the Community Development and Public Safety Committee.
“These last couple of months we’ve had a variety of borough residents come to the committee and discuss ways to essentially try to have a calming effect on Main Street,” said Mace. “There seems to be a consensus that Main Street has an uptick in activity.”
At a recent committee meeting, Kutztown resident Brendan Strasser suggested an advisory committee look at ways to address concerns, said Mace.
Mace feels it is important to give residents a mechanism to get together and help the Community Development and Public Safety Committee and talk about their ideas to find ways to have a calming effect on Main Street, comparing the concept to using speed bumps and stop signs to calm traffic.
Mace noted that Council has already implemented the BYOB ordinance adopted recently and the letter sent to the Liquor Control Board to reduce the Wine and Spirits store hours to a 7 p.m. closing. He hopes that the quality of life advisory committee will help find other simple, easy ways to have a calming effect on Main Street.
Strasser volunteered to serve as chair of the committee. He hopes that Kutztown Borough residents from East and West Main streets and West Walnut Street will get involved, as well as landlords and a Kutztown University student.
“I think we will have the volunteers to get it off the ground fully loaded,” said Strasser. “Try to get representation from different parts of town, especially neighborhoods that are most affected by quality of life issues.”
Council member Rachael Birckbichler thinks a volunteer resident advisory committee is a great idea. She said council has had residents come forward with complaints, issues, concerns and ideas and believes the committee is a good place to pull it all together. She also believes it is a good idea to include landlords in the committee.
“We’ve been trying to get those folks more involved,” she said. “They may have suggestions we haven’t thought about or be able to create communication among the other property owners to give out to their tenants.”
For more information, contact Borough Hall at 610-683-6131.