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Fat Daddy's liquor license transfer approved by council inaction

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
The old Citizens Bank building at 1 N. George St. in York City.

Fat Daddy's Nightclub's liquor license will be transferred to a downtown location after the York City Council failed to vote on whether to approve the measure.

The transfer comes after the council in March declined to give the proposed transfer to the former Citizens Bank at 1 N. George St.  an up or down vote. Instead, the council voted to extend its consideration for 60 days. 

But that extension expired this month without council action, amounting to a de facto approval of the transfer. 

"Council generally decided they didn't want to put their names to it, and we don't feel it's the best use for that building," said City Council President Henry Nixon. "We really had no choice because there was no reason to deny the transfer."

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Matt and Sean Landis, who own Fat Daddy's in Springettsbury Township, have been eyeing the location for more than two years as a space to open a high-end nightclub in the downtown area.

A faction of residents opposed the idea at City Council meetings, citing noise and crime concerns as a reason to decline the transfer — gripes the council mostly agreed with.

Yet police records show the Springettsbury location experienced only 12 arrests for harassment and disorderly conduct over the past five years. Paired with a handful of trespassing and public drunkenness citations, the atmosphere was far from out of the norm for bars, township officials said.

The Landis brothers will now continue to work with Blanda Nace, the city's chief opportunity development officer, who supported the transfer before taking the position with the city earlier this month.

"Anytime anyone redevelops an empty building is a good thing," Nace said. "I don't disagree with the concerns people raised, but I don't think it's a good idea to shut down a project based on misinformation."

The liquor license transfer was a prerequisite for the $450,000 purchase of the property from the Redevelopment Authority Board, but the brothers still have work to do.

They still have to submit documents to the RDA, including a detailed redevelopment plan, construction budget estimates and proof of funding. Once the requirements are completed, construction must begin within three months.

City officials said they don't know when the liquor license transfer will take effect, and the Landis brothers didn't respond to inquiries by deadline.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.