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Alcohol Sales at Airport Restaurant Up for Vote in Tuesday's Primary

 


Residents in North Woodbury Township will be asked in Tuesday’s primary election if they support the local airport authority purchasing a liquor license for the airport restaurant.

The referendum questions on Tuesday’s ballot will read, “Do you favor the granting of liquor licenses to an airport authority for the sale of liquor in the township of North Wooodbury?”

The spelling of Wooodbury” is exactly as it will appear on ballots in North Woodbury Township.

The mistake

The Herald contacted North Woodbury Township Solicitor Larry D. Lashinsky to ask if the misspelling of “Woodbury” as “Wooodbury” could have an effect on the legality of the referendum.

On May 13, Lashinsky said that there is likely not enough time to change the spelling on the ballot, so the misspelled version will be the one put before voters.

Lashinsky when contacted by the Herald said did not know for sure if the misspelling would affect or invalidate the result of the referendum.

“It’s not such a substantive error that people will be completely confused,” Lashinsky said. “If it were a bigger mistake, and people would be confused, I could see where there might be a problem.”

Lashinsky compared the situation to one where someone writes in a name on a ballot but slightly misspells the person’s name. In such cases, courts have ruled that if the misspelling is close enough to the correct spelling, the voter’s intent is obvious and the vote counts.

It is unclear at the time the Herald went to press if this standard would apply to the referendum.

Sarah Seymour, director of Elections/Voter Registration for Blair County, told the Herald, “I asked the county solicitor if someone could contest the results because of the misspelling. Solicitor Karn does not believe it would be an issue.”

The purpose

The Altoona-Blair County Airport Authority desires to obtain a liquor license for use at the restaurant located in the main terminal building of the Altoona-Blair County Airport.

There is a provision in the Pennsylvania Liquor Code that allows for the issuance of a liquor license to an airport authority only, without opening the entire township for liquor sales by other parties.

A similar provision is provided for golf courses and was used by Iron Masters Country Club, Roaring Spring RR, to acquire a license for liquor sales at their facility in an otherwise dry township.

If the ballot initiative is approved by voters in the township, only the airport authority would be permitted to obtain a liquor license, and the airport authority’s use of the liquor license would be strictly limited to property owned by the airport authority. The license could not be transferred to another owner in the township, and it could not be used off airport grounds.

The authority said that while the airport is located in a rural community, it is a gateway for travel out of, and into, Blair and surrounding counties, including passengers who are passing through on their flights between Pittsburgh and Baltimore-Washington airports.

The authority said it is important that the local airport be able to provide the amenities that travelers are accustomed to enjoying at the larger airports. Amenities include a restaurant offering alcoholic beverages.

If this ballot initiative is approved, any concerned individual would be free to attend the authority’s monthly public meetings at the airport at any time and voice any concerns that he or she may have about the authority’s use of the liquor license.

 

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