A new French restaurant and a one-year-old yogurt shop were among topics discussed by members of Emmaus borough council Monday night, yet nobody was talking about the food.
Council also voted to name a recently deceased Emmaus librarian its annual volunteer of the year.
The French cuisine restaurant is planned at 187 Main St., in part of the renovated building that once housed Main Street Gallery, a furniture store.
The restaurant, which borough manager Shane Pepe said is still months away from opening, will be called 187 Rue Principle.
“That part of the building is still raw inside,” said Pepe. “They have to construct everything.”
On Monday, council learned the restaurant will be seeking a state liquor license “for economic development purposes.”
Armed with a resolution of support from borough council, the owners of the restaurant – identified only as At The Table LLC --- would be able to go to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, make a presentation and then hope to be selected for a license.
“This is just opening the door,” explained Atty. Jeffrey Dimmich, the borough solicitor.
Dimmich said only two such licenses are issued annually in each county by PLCB.
A public hearing must be held before council votes on the proposed resolution that was introduced Monday night.
Pepe said that hearing will be at the May 19 council meeting, where council also will vote on the resolution.
“We have to approve it before they’re allowed to go to the state,” explained the manager. “They can’t go to the state without our approval, because it’s an economic development license.”
During a budget & finance committee meeting held just before Monday’s
7 p.m. council meeting, committee chairman Brian Holtzhafer said a tax break request had been received from Mixies Yogurt Café, which is located on the Triangle near Town Hall.
Holtzhafer said the unidentified owner of the café does not want to pay the $150 business privilege tax because it is only a seasonal business.
“I’m not sure where that understanding comes from,” said Holtzhafer. “I’ve never heard anything like that.”
He said the shop was open all winter, but plans to close at the end of November this year.
Council president Lee Ann Gilbert said the shop will be closed for three months next winter.
Pepe said it has been open for more than a year without closing.
He suggested the shop owner has learned her lesson that “frozen yogurt doesn’t sell when there’s two feet of snow on the ground.”
Borough officials said the tax is for the privilege of running a business and does not exclude businesses that only operate seasonally.
Holtzhafer said the Emmaus movie theater is only open for a few hours on most days of the week. “Does that mean they don’t have to pay the business privilege tax? They could come and argue that they’re not open all the time.”
Pepe said the operators of Rita’s Italian Ice at 610 Chestnut St., which is not open in winter months, must pay the business privilege tax. He added that shop did not pay its most recent bill, “which means we’ll be spending time in court.”
The borough manager has recommended the owners of Mixies attend the budget & finance committee meeting, scheduled for 3:30 p.m. May 29.
He stressed any decision on the request would be made by the full council.
During the council meeting, council unanimously agreed to honor the late Martha Vines of Emmaus, who was the children’s librarian at Emmaus Public Library since 1988.
Vines, who died April 8, was named volunteer of the year by council.
“For me, Martha was the borough’s little lone ambassador,” said Gilbert.
A brick bearing her name will be placed in the Emmaus Remembrance Garden at Knauss Homestead.