For many years, anyone who plans to serve alcohol at an event in a Hellertown park has been required to obtain a waiver, because alcohol is prohibited in the borough’s parks.
Council is now poised to eliminate what amounts to red tape for both borough staff and event planners by abolishing the waiver requirement.
At borough council’s April 4 meeting, council president Tom Rieger said other local municipalities no longer require alcohol prohibition waivers for each event held in their parks at which beer, wine or liquor will be served. He said they haven’t had issues, either.
Rieger raised the waiver issue after Hellertown American Legion Commander Eric Medei requested an alcohol prohibition waiver for an upcoming Legion picnic in Dimmick Park.
The picnic “used to be a really big thing…back in the day,” Medei told council.
Council approved the Legion’s waiver request unanimously.
Rieger noted that the number of alcohol prohibition waiver requests council has approved has increased in recent years, in part due to an increase in the number of events during which alcohol is available for purchase, such as the Hellertown-Lower Saucon Chamber of Commerce’s annual free summer concert series in Dimmick Park.
Each waiver applicant must seek council’s approval for their waiver at a public meeting.
Rieger suggested that borough staff contact other municipalities for information about how they process applications for event permits without alcohol prohibition waivers.
“I think if we put controls over it…it will be just fine,” he said. Other council members agreed and voted to approve a motion to begin the process of abolishing the waivers.
Borough manager Cathy Hartranft said she would consult with her counterparts in other towns and return to council with the additional information council requested.
“Eric, you got your waiver,” Rieger then told Medei. “We’re going to change the ordinance so you don’t have to do this again next year.”
In other business, 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 chief of police and the mayor–were absent from the meeting because they were attending a post-fire debriefing, it was announced.
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 on the borough’s website.