After a meeting in which several council members said they had made up their minds after hearing from constituents who opposed the idea, the Gettysburg Borough Council voted on Monday against the idea of allowing the outdoor consumption of alcohol.
The vote was 4 to 3, with councilmembers Matt Moon, Patti Lawson, and Chad-Alan Carr voting in favor.
The plan had been to have an 8 month pilot test around Lincoln Square, but some councilmembers said the idea was unworkable and could cause problems.
Moon and Carr said most people they had heard from were positive about the idea and that they had received a petition from over 60 local residents who favored the plan.
Councilmember Patti Lawson said she thought the proposal would help tourism and that she had talked to a police officer in Carlisle who said the similar ordinance enacted there had caused no problems that he was aware of. “I don’t see a reason to not give it a shot,” she said.
Carr noted the plan was only for a short pilot program that could be ended immediately if problems ensued.
Before voting against the proposal, councilmembers Judie Butterfield and John Lawver said people they had heard from were opposed. Council President Wes Heyser said there were likely to be problems with enforcement.
“I’m against this. I’ll be voting ‘no’,” said Councilmember Chris Berger. “I don’t see open containers in the square as being a part of a vision of what Gettysburg is about.”
Police Chief Robert Glenny and Major Rita Frealing also spoke against the idea before the vote. “I’m against anything that eases the availability of alcohol,” said Glenny. “I foresee issues of additional public drunkenness, underage (drinking), and calls for people going outside the designated area. I foresee litter. I am generally opposed to the open containers,” he said.