Mt. Lebanon commissioners reject liquor license transfer

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Mt. Lebanon commissioners have refused to support the transfer of a liquor license to a business proposed for McFarland Road.

Commissioners voted unanimously Monday not to approve the measure for H&R Brothers 3 LLC, which had plans to open an establishment called Pitt's Dogg'n It in the business plaza at 1695 McFarland Road.

Two other company locations, in Oakland and in Shadyside, specialize in selling beer to go.

Commissioner John Bendel, who represents the ward that includes the proposed site, said he heard concerns from dozens of nearby residents.

"It's not consistent with the character of the neighborhood there," he said. "While their primary business is takeout, the concern was about people staying, as in a bar."

The establishment would have provided seating for patrons, as required by state law, according to attorney Louis Caputo, representing Pitt's Dogg'n It.

"We are geared toward bringing people in and having a wide variety of beers for people to take home," he told commissioners before the vote.

During public comments, resident Hugh Beal of Morrison Drive gave several objections to the license transfer, including plans for the establishment to remain open until 2 a.m. daily and to sell tobacco products. He also cited concerns about a possible increase in traffic, including drunken drivers.

H&R Brothers 3 LLC plans called for Pitt's Dogg'n It in a former video store that could be accessed from Helen Drive and from McFarland Road. The plaza is across the street from Dormont Pool and includes a Dairy Queen and Dollar General store.

The state Liquor Control Board issues and transfers liquor licenses, but requires an ordinance approving the measure from the local municipality before it will consider the application.

In other business Monday:

• Commissioners approved hiring Delta Development Group Inc. of Mechanicsburg, Pa., as consultant for Mt. Lebanon's transit-oriented development project, at a maximum cost of $25,000.

Delta will conduct a marketing study and help to design a request-for-proposals package for potential developers, said Mr. Bendel.

The concept for the project is to build a large platform over the Port Authority's light-rail transit platform near the Washington Road business district. Design firm AECOM completed a preliminary engineering study in 2012.

Mt. Lebanon Parking Authority purchased the air rights for the property from the Port Authority, and the municipality now owns the rights.

Mr. Bendel expressed optimism about the project.

"The Pittsburgh real estate market is really hot," he said. "Five years ago, we wouldn't have had interest in air rights development. I think now is the time."

Delta has worked on a project sponsored by the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission to identify factors that make transit-oriented development successful in the region.

• Municipal manager Stephen Feller acknowledged the career of Marcia Taylor, who is retiring today after more than three decades of working for the township.

Ms. Taylor was hired as finance director in 1979, and in 1990 she added the role of assistant municipal manager.

"She has been involved in virtually every major improvement in the community over the last 34 years," Mr. Feller said. "Mt. Lebanon has really benefitted by her presence in the community and is going to miss her tremendously."


Harry Funk, freelance writer:


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