Borough sets rules for alcohol in public

Businesses, residents can apply for permits

April 7, 2021 Cranberry Local News

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ZELIENOPLE — With two votes March 29, Zelienople Borough Council changed how alcohol can be involved in future events in the borough.

An ordinance was approved to forbid the carrying and consumption of alcoholic beverages in “any park, playground, ball field, recreation areas, commons, or parking lots owned and maintained” by the borough.

A second ordinance provides for public event permits, and a liability insurance requirement for events with alcohol.

After a month of consideration, the open-container ban, Ordinance 874-21, is more constrained than the original text, which was originally proposed Feb. 22.

The original text generated some opposition when it was first proposed, with members of the local business association arguing it would hinder economic recovery in the borough.

One part of the ordinance was changed, however, and the ordinance received no open opposition Monday.

Originally, the ordinance forbade alcoholic beverages on “public access property,” effectively applying its provisions to all public areas within the borough.

Given the borough's main stated concern in the February meeting was with liability for alcohol on public property, the text changed, applying its provisions only to public access areas.

Exception to rules

The ordinance also carves out an exception to its rules: Businesses and individuals may apply for a permit from the chief of police that would allow them to “possess, distribute, sell or consume” alcohol on borough-owned property.

That provision provides for conditions upon which the permit may be issued, including the limiting of drinks to 15% alcohol by volume and a 16-ounce size limitation, as well as a fee for the permit.

Ordinance 874-21 also provides penalties for those in violation, including a $50 fine for first offense, a $100 fine for the second offense and a $300 fine for third and subsequent offenses.

“I think we've come to a clear understanding that we're protecting our property, but we still want the borough to operate in a happy and economically healthy way,” councilwoman Mary Hess said. “We also are going to protect the borough itself. I think this turned out well.”

Event guidance

Another ordinance, which garnered less attention than the public drinking proposal, was also passed by the borough Monday.

Ordinance 875-21 provides guidance to businesses on how parades and other public gatherings may be held, and specifically provides for special-event permits to be issued for such gatherings.

Related to the prior ordinance, this one contains provisions related to the “sale, service or consumption of alcohol” on public or borough property.

Under this section of the borough code, an individual or company must present to the borough proof of liquor liability insurance of $1 million per occurrence or more, with the policy naming the borough as an additional insured.

“Again, this was very positively received by the (Zelienople Area) Business Association, and it gives them guidance on what to do for their events, so they were pleased with this as well,” Hess said.

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Alex J. Weidenhof

Alex J. Weidenhof