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Wine Sales Bid Denied for Garden Center

The Willistown Township Supervisors said Monday night that Woodlawn Garden Center had not gone through the necessary steps to sell wine.

The Willistown Board of Supervisors denied a conditional use application that would have allowed Woodlawn Garden Center to sell wine at its location on Paoli Pike.

Woodlawn's owners Dave and Rebekah Laughlin Bowser were planning to open a "wine garden" in partnership with Kutztown-based Blair Vineyards. 

In a 3-0 vote Monday night, the supervisors rejected the garden center's application, based on a recommendation from the township solicitor.

"They did not go through the proper channels. They did not fulfill the requirements that everybody has to do," board chairman Bob Lange said.

In an email sent before the decision, Rebekah Laughlin Bowser said they had received an approval letter from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, but still had to contend with local zoning regulations. She said Woodlawn had a legal right to sell wine from small, local producers as an agricultural product.

"[T]he vineyard would be able to sell more wine, Woodlawn would hire more staffers, and the community would have a place to gather," she said.

Bowser said Wednesday that they are considering challenging the township's decision in court.

Donna Linehan February 15, 2013 at 01:27 PM
I think a wine garden in the area would be awesome. Something new and fun in the area. I bet if the Strawberry farm applied, they would have been approved with no problem.
Dave Knies February 15, 2013 at 04:20 PM
Dave K. good idea; they need someone from the twp. to explain the process to them so this can become a reality!
Jenny Proetto February 15, 2013 at 05:15 PM
We are pulling for you guys! Let's hope that the township decides to "re-evaluate" their decision based on the feedback. It is a great idea for the community, and a necessary evolution to maintain your business and compete with the big box stores. I commend Woodlawn Gardens for trying to grow with the community! Owner of Butt Wigglin Good Pet Bakery - Jen Proetto
Linda February 15, 2013 at 06:00 PM
A wine garden would be lovely, and it would be nice to see a business succeed at that location. Where was the impact study when they approved that hideous electronic sign for Main Line Gardens??
Woodlawn Garden Center Malvern, 359 Paoli Pike February 16, 2013 at 03:50 PM
We understand the process, have all our ducks in a row and followed all the township's processes for requesting a waiver to submitting the studies required for conditional use. Other applicants have had their waiver requests approved for similar projects yet ours, supposedly because of the litigation with our competing garden center "Main Line Gardens", was denied. Woodlawn maintains that our project should be considered on its merit which is distinctly different from other applications. We are asking to remodel the interior of a building, with no soil disturbance, additional impervious coverage or outdoor building involved. This project doesn't warrant an expensive environmental impact or traffic study, or development plan that the township is requiring. This amounts to punitive bullying of a small business. We'd like to offer something nice for the township to utilize and we thought a wine garden would be a triple win for us to repurpose and existing building, for the community and for Blair Vineyards. Help us by letting the twp. manager know your thoughts!

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