Very upsetting news. Basically Burgers, the wonderful burger place in Doylestown, is getting squeezed – and maybe even put out of business. One way or another, they are being forced out by the end of April by their landlord, who has chosen a Subway franchise over Basically Burgers. Just what Doylestown needs.
Unless you live in Doylestown, in the township or borough, you probably haven’t been following the sewer debacle. I don’t know that I can even describe it accurately here. It’s been boro vs. township vs. PA Department of Enviromental Protection, arguing over sewer and water connections (or not) and what defines adequate “capacity” of a sewage plant. The article in yesterday’s Intelligencer gives a good summary (be sure to check out the great comments by readers following the article):
Owners Wes and Jay Goddard, father and son, respectively, said they had a month-to-month lease with their landlord and the landlord asked them about a month and a half ago to leave at the end of April – to make room for a Subway. They spent the past few weeks searching for a new location and found one at just the right size and price (no easy task for a small family business in Doylestown) on Main Street.
Normally, their move would be easy. They’d fill out a few forms, pay for the extra sewer connection the Bucks County Water and Sewer Authority says they need, paint the new place, get the kitchen ready, post their menu, hang some hamburger posters and spend a weekend moving furniture.
But the small, popular mom-and-pop-and-son burger shop is caught in the middle of a long war among Doylestown, the Bucks County Water and Sewer Authority and the state Department of Environmental Protection.
That means nothing about the move is going to be easy – if the shop even moves at all. Basically Burgers might be forced to close.
Basically Burgers’ current location, at 12 W. State St., has one sewer connection. The space the Goddards want to move into, at 33 S. Main St., has two sewer connections. The Bucks County Water and Sewer Authority told the Goddards they need to buy one more for $5,700, and agreed to sell it to them.
The state Department of Environmental Protection would normally exempt the Goddards from sewer usage planning because the change in usage is so small. But the DEP recently informed the authority that it will no longer allow the exceptions, and property owners in parts of Doylestown, Doylestown Township, Buckingham and Plumstead will have to go through a months-long planning process. DEP is concerned that sewage treatment plants can’t support additional growth and could render the system unsafe…
The Goddards can’t afford to wait for months. “Our lease is done here April 29. We needed to land something yesterday so we could start construction on it,” Jay Goddard said. “We need income. We can’t have a lot of downtime.” Basically Burgers is the Goddard family’s primary source of income…If the Goddards can’t move Basically Burgers quickly, they’ll have to close up shop and find new jobs.
Representatives of the authority and borough officials said the DEP is still requiring property owners to go through the full sewer usage planning process; neither agency has heard anything from the DEP that would indicate anything different. DEP officials have refused to comment on the decision.
So, what can we do? Not sure at the moment. Do check in at Basically Burgers’ Facebook page for updates on the situation, and what fans can do to help. And be sure to stop by the store, buy a burger and give your support.
16 West State St.
(across from Starbucks)
Thanks to Christina Kristofic at the Intelligencer for her informative article.