Sunday, February 05, 2006

BoS Meeting & Public Hearing 2/2/06

On 2/2/06 the Board of Supervisors began their evening shortly after 7:00 PM - the court stenographer was late - with a Public Hearing on the request for an inter-municipality liquor license transfer. Big Woody’s (BW Forks, Inc.) has purchased the license of Savio’s (sic) Lounge on Stefko Boulevard. Both Amy Unger (Express Times) and Joe Nixon (Morning Call) were there. Please read their articles.

PUBLIC HEARING - Liquor License Transfer

Solicitor Karl Kline stated the purpose of the meeting and some of the history of the Pennsylvania State Legislature’s rules and regulations regarding liquor licenses. Prior to 2000, the number of liquor licenses available in an area was fixed and based on population. In 2000 the Legislature allowed inter-municipality transfer within a county stipulating that a public hearing must be held.

Kline further said that after the public hearing, at a public meeting, the BoS votes on it. And, after that vote, the PA Liquor Control Board conducts an investigation into the character of the applicant and the suitability of the location. Also, if the BoS rejects the request, the applicant has the right to take his case to the Court of Common Pleas.

The BoS has 45 days from the date the application is received to decide on the request. The clock began ticking for this one on 1/5/06 and ends on 2/19/06. He also said that the BoS MUST approve the request unless they can prove that it would adversely affect the welfare, health, peace and morals of the community or its residents. Objective evidence must be presented, not just opinions.


Attorney Tamer Ahmed represented the applicant, BW Forks, Inc. Elwood Michael Marcks, Jr., (Big Woody) Elwood Marcks, Sr., and Justin Marcks testified.

Marcks, Jr. said that he was a 1986 graduate of Penn State University in Restaurant Management and that he, his father and brother plan to open an Italian restaurant/sports bar/pizza delivery business in the new Sullivan Forks Center
(Sullivan Trail I). He said that his father was a former defensive tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles and the NY Jets.

The menu they brought included a kids menu. Marcks, Jr. added that they hope to offer discounts on pizza for schools, to donate to the little league, and to donate to the schools - and that they have 20-30 employees at each of their other three locations.

When asked if any of their restaurants received any LCB citations, Marcks, Jr. said yes. He added that all of their employees must take a course in responsible alcohol management (State RAMP program at Lehigh Univ.) and that the law requires that 80% of employees must be certified.

Marcks, Jr. was asked (by Ahmed) what the benefit of their establishment would be to Forks. He said that they would like to get involved in community sports and to perhaps donate weight lifting equipment to the high school.

Marcks, Jr. described the 6000 square feet restaurant as similar to a TGI Friday’s but with pizza delivery on the side - like an upscale Pizza Hut. They will hire locally (except for Justin Marcks and himself who are from Allentown.)


Supervisor David Hoff asked how many LCB violations they had received and was told that there were three and that the last was for serving a minor. Supervisor Bonnie Nicholas asked if serving minors was their only violation and was told "yes." She asked too how many employees will be going to the RAMP program. Marcks, Jr. said that all of the employees will be certified (even though the state only requires 80%).

When asked by Nicholas how many feet their restaurant would be from the new Goddard School, Marcks, Sr. replied "approximately 1000 feet."

Nicholas asked what the hours of operation will be and was told that the other restaurants are open seven days a week from 11 AM until 2 AM but that they would probably be less in Forks.

Supervisor Don Miller asked if the majority of the business would be more restaurant or bar. The answer to that was that Big Woody opened the first sports bar in the area and that Big Woody ‘s will have a meeting room as well as make donations to youth centers since he is a kidney transplant receiver.

Supervisor David Howell asked, "What interested you to come to Forks?" Big Woody answered that he does a lot with Posh
(the developer of the commercial tract) and he is interested in areas that are growing - that he wants to do more restaurant business. He said that Posh is the landlord of their 12th and Liberty as well as their South 4th Street sites. Howell asked if Posh contacted him or he Posh and was told that it was a little bit of both. He added that Forks is a good growth area and a tight community. Marcks, Jr. said that they "want to one with Forks." Howell asked Marcks, Sr. if he had come to see the site ("yes") and then he requested that he step to the plan and point out various other businesses on the site. Engineer Fred Hay helped the Marcks to locate the Goddard School on the map. It is by Howell’s calculation, 412 feet from the restaurant/bar.

Howell asked Marcks, Jr. to describe his duties. He said he’s in charge of everything - through managers in the locations. He said that he makes personal visits/inspections every day and starts in the morning at 12th & Liberty.

Howell asked if they had any violations at their
(now sold) Fullerton location. They said "no." Ahmed noted that the LCB will be doing a thorough investigation. Marcks, Sr. said that the violation there was not them but a violation that came with the license.

Howell asked about gambling citations at 12th & Liberty. Howell said that the allegations were for cash payments and that undercover officers reported how much money changed hands between the bartender(s) and patrons. Howell asked if Marcks, Sr. intended to have the boxes here in Forks. Marcks said that if you don’t want them, they will not have them
(the games of chance boxes - with 10 or so games) in Forks.

Howell produced photographs that he took of two of the three Big Woody’s exteriors to enter as exhibits. A set was passed through the audience. He was asked by Acting Chairman John Ackerman if he took the photos on his own or under the direction of the Board? Howell said that he took them on his own.


Clarendon Drive resident Scott Gingold asked exactly how many citations their other facilities have received over the last 5-10 years and was told by Marcks, Jr. "the ones I was aware of I told you about." Gingold asked how many times the police were called in the last 5 years and was told that the sites had motion detectors that were sometimes set off by the air conditioning and they don’t know how many times the police responded. They have turned off the motion detectors. Gingold (later) urged the Board to restrict the hours of operation.

Resident Dave Bennett asked how close the business will be to Clarendon; he is concerned about the lighting. He was told less than 1000 feet and that BW Forks, Inc. wants to make it a nice place and that they do not want what they have in Allentown in Forks. Big Woody added that "this will be a step up for us."


Duncan Williams, Village at Upstream Farms resident, remarked that this town is rather endowed with Italian restaurants and pizzerias and that it seemed to him that profits will be diluted. Brian Clark of the Goddard School said that he is "uneasy" about having a restaurant and bar so close to the Goddard School. John Neff (resident) asked if the citizens could vote? (He was told by Ackerman that the Supervisors are the only ones who can vote on it.) Dean Turner (PC) asked "When did the approvals actually happen?" Kline answered that the commercial development was approved under the Performance Subdivision - and permitted "by right." John Castrovinci (PC and Principal of Forks Elementary School) said that he was concerned that it was so close to the new kids in the new houses (going in behind it) and to the "little tykes" learning center. He also expressed concern about the gaming and gambling violations. Erik Chuss (PC) asked if there was anything in the Zoning Ordinance regarding the proximity of bars to schools or residences and Kline replied none that he was aware of and he presumed that Zoning Officer Tim Weis (not present) checked it against the Zoning Ordinance. Ahmed said that it was 300 feet. Howell said that it was 500 feet.

Turner wondered about the LCB and its rules for open space/recreation areas since there will be open space in the behind the bar
(in the townhouse development.) Hay said that the plans call for open space and not a recreation area.

The hearing ended.
(The Board will vote during the regular meeting.)



  • Hoff reported that the move to the new building went very well.
  • Miller said that it’s very busy at the Community Center and that the new parking lot is open and being used. It holds up to 250 cars.
  • Ackerman stated that there were many emails between Board members regarding building keys.

Township Manager Cathy Kichline said that the Board has keys to their entrance and to the conference room and requested that if the Board members require access to Administration or Zoning after hours that the Board should approve it.

Ackerman said that he contacted 6 other municipalities as to their policy and was told "Why not?"

Hoff said that he has the same access as he did to the old building and it was sufficient.

Kichline said that the Supervisors’ key fobs give full access during working hours.

Nicholas said that she feels that she should be able to go into any building at any time (except the Police Department.)

Howell said that during normal working he can go anywhere that he wants and that’s all he wants. He said that he has no problem denying free access to the Administration area because of the sanctity of certain files that are kept there.

Kline suggested that they have 3 brand new buildings and that now is the appropriate time to develop a total system of security for who will have access to the buildings.

Ackerman suggested a workshop for developing job descriptions for employees. Hoff said that he would prefer that the committees take this on as a project. Howell said the standing committee structure is good for projects of this nature. Ackerman said that each committee should do it soon. Kichline said that the PD job descriptions were done as part of the accreditation process.

Ackerman offered that the workshop can be held after the job descriptions are developed (by the committees).

  • Kichline thanked the Board and the residents (on behalf of the staff) for the new building. She said that they are now working in an "environment of calmness."
  • Kichline announced that the 4-way stop on Arndt & Bushkill was installed today.
    Finance Manager Jim Farley noted that they are currently undertaking the year end audit.


Hoff said that he had a question for Kline regarding the correspondence from the Lehigh/Northampton Airport Authority. He asked if it met the requirements of their agreement? Kline responded that the Authority is required to provide reports to the Township and that part of their agreement was to not expand the capacity of the airport. Kline added that Mr. Crowder should address the Board regarding their 12-year plan since they appear to intend to expand the hangars. Ackerman stated that he asked Kichline to contact Crowder and arrange his appearance at a meeting. Kichline said that he will be at the 2/16/06 meeting and it is to be an agenda item.


Dick Couch from Lockwood Congress said that the Forks Community Day Committee had decided on September 16th & 17th for the event with a Friday night set-up. Couch asked that those dates be assigned to them. Ackerman asked if there will be any Township employees involved. Couch said that they may be needed only to answer questions - he will take volunteers. Kichline asked if the Township is interested in providing (paying for) any of employees that will be required - like the police or the department of public works employees? She said it would be a significant contribution. Ackerman suggested that Couch let him know what services will be required and the Board will consider it. Couch asked if in the future he should work through Kichline rather than appear before the Board. He was told "yes."


TRANSFER OF LIQUOR LICENSE/BW FORKS, INC. - Nicholas opened the discussion by asking if there were any drawings of the front of the buildings yet. Engineer Fred Hay said "no."

Howell said that he had strong reservations about the granting of the license and that it’s all in relation to the Goddard School. He added that he’s familiar with all the establishments that Mr. Marcks runs and the testimony did not convince him in their favor.

Nicholas asked if the public can contact the LCB or is there a public hearing with the LCB? Kline said that there is nothing to prevent the public from contacting them and he did not know if they hold a public hearing. He suggested writing to the main office in Harrisburg and not one of the local offices. Ackerman said that he’s been into places like they are proposing and that he’s enjoyed the food that these places make.

Hoff made the motion to approve the transfer based on the facts that it meets the Zoning and the requirements of the LCB. He later added a restriction against the "games" to his motion. Ackerman seconded the motion. Kline said that he already prepared a resolution for the Board and that if they are not going to approve this, they must indicate in writing why not. He said that any conditions that the Board would like to recommend, like hours of operation, can be in an amendment to the resolution.

Howell said that he wanted a stipulation that deals with discriminatory pricing for men vs. women. Kline said that anyone can write a dissension and send it to the LCB.

The Board voted 4:1 to approve the transfer for Big Woody’s. Howell cast the nay vote.

YAUTZ FAMILY TRUST MINOR SUBDIVISION/FINAL PLAN - Les Rizotto (sic) of East Penn Engineering explained that this was 2 minor subdivisions cut from agricultural land in Forks. The rest of the land is in LMBT. Hay said that they had PennDot approvals and had paid the fees to the Township. Kline said that the PC recommended approval based on Hay’s letter. It passed 5:0.

DIANE ELLIOT - TWO RIVERS COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS - Diane Elliot, Director For Public Service fo the Meyner Center for the Study of State and Local Government at Lafayette College, explained that the Two Rivers COG decided to move forward and to re-invigorate itself. She said that an elected Township official and alternate elected official are necessary on the Board. Township Managers are not empowered to vote on behalf of the township.

Elliot said that regional co-operative efforts get State funds. Ackerman and Howell volunteered. Howell said that this is related to the Community Relations Committee functions. The meetings are the 4th Wednesday of every month at 7:00 PM.

Elliot also noted that (tentatively scheduled) on March 1st at 5:30 PM in Oaxley (sic) Hall at Lafayette, Bob Freeman, Rob Wonderling, and Rich Grucela are putting together a meeting on Act 67 - the Joint Comprehensive Planning Act. Also, on February 27th at Lafayette, PennDot will be doing a workshop on Traffic Access Management. On May 18th they are having their annual conference and this year it will be on Regional Emergency Management. They will be providing NIMS training (in the afternoon).

The motion to appoint Ackerman and Howell as Forks representatives was approved 5:0.

ADVERTISE FOR PART TIME POSITION/POLICE DEPARTMENT - Nicholas asked Kichline if she had the advertisement set-up. She did not but said that she will prepare it tomorrow and place it. It is for a 16 hour part-time position on Saturdays and Sundays (8 hours each day) at the rate of $13/hour. It was approved 5:0.

There was an EXECUTIVE SESSION to discuss a personnel matter. No action was taken during the Executive Session and the meeting was adjourned.

Our objective is to relate what is experienced at Forks Township meetings for those who cannot attend. We are attempting to be as factual as we can. If we make a mistake, tell us via email or COMMENT here in the blog, and we will do our best to correct it. We are not perfect. We want to get it right.

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