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Council Passes Liquor Ordinance Unanimously

The ordinance sets up some—not all—of the parameters for alcohol sales in Moorestown, such as who's responsible for issuing licenses and hours of operation for establishments.

More than two months after voters on liquor sales, township council took the first real step toward turning those votes into reality.

Members of council Monday unanimously passed—on first reading—an ordinance allowing the sale of alcoholic beverages in Moorestown. The ordinance goes into some detail, providing certain parameters for the types of licenses that will be issued (plenary retail consumption licenses), how many (six, based on population—1 per 3,000 residents), and who will be responsible for issuing licenses (township council).

Other details, such as the minimum bid for a license, and restrictions (i.e. limiting sales to in specific zones per the second referendum), will be covered in a subsequent resolution council will pass at a future meeting, township attorney Thomas Coleman said.

Council is expected to formally approve the ordinance on second reading at its next meeting on Feb. 13. Mayor John Button said Moorestown Mall owner PREIT (Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust) has asked him when council would be ready to begin the bidding process.

“They’re anxiously awaiting that because they have contracts pending based on those licenses,” he said.

Button said he expects the township to be ready to go out to bid by the end of February or early March at the latest.

PREIT has to buy four liquor licenses for restaurants at the mall at $1 million apiece. Though they’ve provided nothing formal to the township, Button said, “I don’t have any reason to believe they won’t follow through on that commitment.”

The ordinance approved by council Monday also sets up the hours during which alcohol can be sold or consumed, prohibiting sales/consumption between 2-10 a.m., except on New Year’s Day, when it’s extended to 3 a.m.

“We’re trying to be business friendly,” Button explained regarding the New Year’s hours. “That’s all.”

View the attached PDF for all the details in the ordinance. 

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