Bellevue council advances liquor law change
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Bellevue council is one step closer to enacting an open-container law, which would prohibit consumption of alcoholic beverages in public.
The new ordinance would close a loophole in the borough's liquor regulations that allows a person to drink an alcoholic beverage on the sidewalk next to an outdoor restaurant table but not at the table itself.
The second reading of an open-container measure was approved Tuesday, and a final vote is likely Sept. 4, according to manager Douglas Sample.
Bellevue resident Danina DiBattista closed her restaurant, Bite Bistro, on Saturday after months of trying to get council to allow her customers seated at tables on the sidewalk to drink alcohol they brought to the restaurant with their meal. According to Ms. DiBattista, the new law is necessary.
She said she didn't like that the new ordinance got pushed through quickly when council took months to decide against allowing consumption of alcohol brought into a restaurant at sidewalk seating.
Because Bellevue is a dry borough, restaurants can't apply for liquor licenses or serve alcoholic beverages. However, customers can bring their own alcohol to a restaurant and drink it inside. BYOB is not allowed in a restaurant's outdoor restricted area.
"I can't blame them for my business closing, but they didn't do anything to help me stay afloat, either," she said, noting that the new open-container ordinance permits outdoor gatherings, such as block parties, to get a special permit to serve alcohol outdoors. "It's a slap in the face that a block party has more rights than I do."
Since closing Bite Bistro, Ms. DiBattista has been scouting locations in Sewickley, which she noted has been eager to welcome her business.
"What a difference. They really want me, and I almost can't believe it!" she said. "There's not going to be progress in [Bellevue] until there's a new council, which will take two years, and I can't wait that long."
In other business, council approved four resolutions that will use Community Development Block Grants.
The borough will commit a match of $4,500, which is 15 percent, for the demolition of houses at 650 North Ave., 591 Forest Ave. and 164 Washington Ave. The borough will apply for $25,500 in block grant funding. The second phase of Lincoln Avenue's Streetscape Construction will apply for $212,000 in block grant funds and commit a 15 percent match of $37,500.
The borough will apply for $59,500 in block grants for 20 sidewalk ramps and match that funding with 15 percent, $10,500. The third phase of the Bayne Park skate plaza project will need $85,000 in block-grant funding, and the borough will commit a 9 percent match of $15,000.
After council approved the rules for the new Bellevue Dog Woods off-leash dog park, it addressed an issue regarding trees that had been removed three years ago from an area that borders the dog park and Bellevue's Memorial Park. The area serves as a buffer between Bellevue and Ross.
Councilwoman Kathy Coder said the trees were dead and the borough removed them as a neighborly gesture. Ross residents want the trees replaced. Solicitor Tom McDermott said that Bellevue is under no legal obligation to replace the trees.
Landscape Architect Bradley Hazelwood of Civil & Environmental Consultants Inc. of Pittsburgh said the TreeVitalize Pittsburgh program may be able to donate 23 trees. He estimated the cost to be $3,500 and installation could cost around $9,000. The matter was tabled.
First Published August 16, 2012 5:12 am