MIDDLESEX TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — Middlesex Township is one of the few dry towns that prohibit alcoholic beverages at local restaurants, but voters may change that in the May primary.

“Let’s face it. Nobody really wants to go to a restaurant that you can’t have a glass of wine, or a beer, or a cocktail,” said Mary Lou Tabisz, a local resident.

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Tabisz originated the petition drive to let voters decide whether to turn Middlesex wet.

“We needed 486 signatures. We got well over 800 — 770 that were good,” she said.

Tabisz told KDKA money editor Jon Delano that she has support from the local developers of Middlesex Crossing off Route 8.

“They were very supportive. I’ve had their support during this whole process of meetings and everything,” she said.

Delano: “Did they come to you, or did you go to them?”
Tabisz: “I went to them. I went to them because they are the ones that are changing the township.”

Over 100 homes and townhouses are going up with nearby retail commercial space, which Tabisz hopes attracts a restaurant with alcohol.

This is not the first effort to go wet.

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A popular restaurant called Hoovers had to close, says Tabisz, because it was unable to get the issue on the ballot a few years ago.

“They were trying to get the liquor license available so that they would save their restaurant,” she said.

Even if voters in Middlesex Township vote to allow restaurants to serve wine, beer or other forms of alcohol, that does not guarantee that they’ll get a license to do that.

That is governed by some very complicated rules of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

For example, because of its small population, Middlesex is allowed only one liquor license.

Any additional licenses require the approval of the township supervisors.

But it’s a start, and supporters predict victory.

“Very little opposition has been heard from,” Tabisz said.

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All voters in the township, regardless of party registration, can vote on this referendum issue on May 21.