Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County in case of Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board v. Bridgeport Young Men's Club, No. 71 of 1982.
Eileen Sonaumus, with her, Felix Thau, Assistant Counsel, and Gary F. DiVito, Chief Counsel, for appellant.
Charles C. Gentile, for appellee.
Judges Rogers, Palladino and Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Barbieri.
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (Board) appeals here from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County which reversed the Board's denial of a club liquor license requested by the Bridgeport Men's Club (Club). We reverse.
From the record before us it appears that the Club is a social organization having 276 members, almost all of whom live in the Brownsville, Pennsylvania area. In August of 1981 the Club applied to the Board for a club liquor license for its clubhouse in Brownsville pursuant to the resort area exception specified in Section 461(b) of the Liquor Code (Code)*fn1 which provides that "[t]he board shall have the power to
increase the number of licenses in any . . . municipality which in the opinion of the board is located within a resort area." After a hearing on the request, the P.L.C.B. denied the Club's application making the following pertinent findings of fact:
2. The Board is not satisfied that the establishment proposed to be licensed is located within a Resort Area.
3. It has not been established that there is a necessity for an additional retail liquor license in Brownsville, Fayette County.
4. There is not a substantial need for such license (sic) in relation to the pleasures, convenience and general welfare of the club members who would make use of the facilities.
Following a de novo review of the Board's decision on appeal, however, the common pleas court reversed. In its decision the court noted that the "granting of this application would serve to increase membership and expand the club's activities to the benefit of the various charitable and civic organizations which it supports[,]" and further noted that the Brownsville area "draws numerous visitors to the historical sites of Nemocolin Castle, the Cast Iron Bridge and St. Peter's Gothic Church, which are all within a one-mile area of the Club." The only finding made by the court, however, on the question of whether there was a necessity for the licensed premises was the court's finding that ...