State liquor board recommends deli by Vernon Park move after nuisance, drunkenness complaints

 (NewsWorks file photo)

(NewsWorks file photo)

After years of neighborhood complaints, a takeout beer business in Germantown could be on its way out.

Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board recommended that the owners of Lee’s Steaks & Hoagies transfer their license to someone else at a new location.

“The community’s voice was definitely heard,” said Stacey Wright, chief of staff for state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, whose district includes the deli.

“I’m not saying the word victory. I would call it that we’re moving towards a positive direction.”

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The decision follows a packed hearing in early October that saw residents and elected officials pan the business for being a bad neighbor.

For well over a decade, residents have complained about violence, public drunkenness, loitering and littering outside and near the deli, which sits along the commercial heart of the Germantown and abuts Vernon Park.

Over the past two years, Lee’s has violated its conditional licensing agreement. Specifically, the business has failed to pat down customers and, according to neighbors, patrol the outside of the business.

If the owners decide against transferring the liquor license, the PCLB will rule on whether or not to renew it at a later hearing.

If the PCLB rules against them, the owners can appeal to the Court of Common Pleas and beyond.

“She hasn’t made her mind up yet,” said John McCreesh, who represents co-owner Lisa Ky. “It’s a big decision.”

At the October hearing, Ky said she has security on site that does its best to move people along who aren’t paying customers, as well as those who routinely loiter outside the deli after buying beer.

“They’re just like a fly,” she said. “They come back.”

Ky also said she and her employees regularly patrol the outside of the business. They don’t pat down customers inside because they don’t let them and because there’s fear it could lead to a confrontation.

“I do my best,” said Ky.

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