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LESTER ET AL. v. PENNSYLVANIA LIQUOR CONTROL BOARD. (LESTER LIQUOR LICENSE CASE.) (04/15/52)

April 15, 1952

LESTER ET AL.
v.
PENNSYLVANIA LIQUOR CONTROL BOARD. (LESTER LIQUOR LICENSE CASE.)



COUNSEL

Joseph N. Bongiovanni, Jr., Philadelphia, Frank R. Hean, Harrisburg, for appellants.

Horace A. Segelbaum, Deputy Atty. Gen., Robert E. Woodside, Atty. Gen., for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Reno, Dithrich, Ross, Arnold and Gunther, JJ.

Author: Dithrich

[ 170 Pa. Super. Page 575]

DITHRICH, Judge.

M. L. Lester and R. E. Thomas, trading as 'Trail's End', have appealed from an order of the Court of Quarter Sessions of Dauphin County dismissing their appeal from the order of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control

[ 170 Pa. Super. Page 576]

Board refusing their application for a hotel liquor license and amusement permit. The issuance of the license was objected to by the Harrisburg State Hospital, a mental institution owned and operated by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and also by the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare. The hospital objected on the ground that the premises were within 300 feet of the hospital grounds. The matter was heard de novo before the court below. The facts, as stated in the opinion of the court, are as follows:

'* * * The testimony shows that appellants' premises are situated in what is commonly known as 'Spooky Hollow' near village of Edgemont [Susquehanna Township], in the rear and to the east of the main hospital grounds. The distance from the hotel premises to the hospital grounds is 40 feet 7 inches. The nearest hospital buildings are about 1,000 feet from the premises, and the nearest buildings which house patients are about one-half mile away. There are about 2,500 resident patients at the hospital, and many of these have the privilege of using the hospital grounds under limited parole privileges. Many of these patients have a background of alcoholic addiction.

'There is a wire fence along the eastern edge of the hospital grounds, but this is in no sense a security fence. It is an ordinary farm fence, such as would delineate a boundary line or restrain stock that might be grazing in the field. The evidence indicates that patients can easily, and frequently do, get over this fence. * * *'

The principal reason stated in the resolution of the Board of Trustees of the hospital in opposition to the issuing of the license was that 'an institution with a liquor license so closely adjacent to the property might be a source of danger to parole patients who have the freedom of the hospital grounds.' Dr. H. K. Petry,

[ 170 Pa. Super. Page 577]

    superintendent of the hospital, who resides on the grounds in the administration building, testified that 'The basis of the objection to the granting of this license is that in the treatment of mental patients one of the very important things is to grant a large number of patients the maximum amount of freedom which it is possible to give them. * * * [W]e have been fortunate in that the property to the rear of the hospital has been * * * rural * * *, and it has been possible to grant parole privileges to a number of patients in that direction. In addition to that, we have a substantial number of patients in whom the problem of alcohol addiction, the free use of alcohol, is a serious problem [10 per cent are or have been heavy users of alcohol in their time and in a lesser number of cases the cause of their mental disease is ...


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