Council has adopted an ordinance that will allow for alcoholic beverage sales to be held to stricter standards.
The new controls, according to Township Spokeswoman Bridget Palmer, ensure that alcoholic beverages will be confined to a single, separate area of a store that can be secured during hours when the sale of liquor is prohibited.
A store that wishes to sell alcoholic beverages must be at least 15,000 square feet in size and there must be specified cash registers for liquor sales.
The hope for the changes, Palmer said, is to strike a balance of economic interests and the health and wellness of the community.
This will allow for township supermarkets to remain competitive, she said.
The ordinance was adopted with five council members in favor of the decision. Councilwoman Jacqueline Silver voted against the ordinance and Council President David Fleisher was absent at the meeting.
“We’re confident that the ordinance that was adopted addresses a lot of the concerns that were voiced,” Palmer said of any opposition from liquor store owners.
Council worked closely with the Drug and Alcohol Alliance to craft the conditions
“Our goal is certainly not to make alcohol more easily accessible to people that shouldn’t have it,” Palmer said.
The model has worked in other towns, and is similar to the Mt. Laurel Wegmans store.
“It really is a store within a store,” she said.
The public auction for one open retail distribution liquor license that was originally set for early February has been postponed to later in March at a date to be determined.
The deadline for sealed bids is 11 a.m. on March 26 to the township clerk’s office and bids will be immediately opened.
The minimum bid is $425,000 and bidders have to pre-qualify, Palmer said.
The application for pre-qualification is March 18 at 5 p.m.