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Schuylkill County News

Black Rock Owner Cited, Fined By Pottsville Code Enforcement

Did Code Enforcement put down the wrong date of the alleged offenses?

CORRECTION: In our original report, we noted that 2 of the citations against Weaver included the incorrect date of the alleged violations. However, an astute reader noticed that the error is consistent on all 3 citations. Our article is updated to reflect that information.

The City of Pottsville has cited the owner of Black Rock Brewing Co. with 3 summary violations and is fining him nearly $1,200 for holding a Free Beer event last weekend on the grounds surrounding his condemned building downtown.

The Canary obtained copies of the non-traffic citations filed with District Magistrate Jimmy Reiley this week by Pottsville Code Enforcement Officer Justin Trefsger.

Last Saturday, the owner of Black Rock Brewing Co., Bobby Weaver, held a Free Beer event that coincided with the city’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities. The event was a bit of a protest against what Weaver says is the city’s refusal to inspect his property after Pottsville shut it down after a May 2023 kitchen fire.

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City officials say Black Rock Brewing has 67 code violations. Weaver says he’s addressed those violations but Pottsville won’t inspect the property.

In the week prior to the Free Beer event, Pottsville officials, including Mayor Dave Clews and Solicitor Tim Pellish, threatened to shut it down if Weaver went ahead with his plans.

Weaver insisted that he’d go forward with his plans despite the threats. Then, at the last minute, Pottsville caved and said they wouldn’t shut the event down but would issue citations against Weaver. The Mayor said the City was backing down because the situation had become a “public relations nightmare.”

The Free Beer event went on as planned last Saturday, March 16. The Canary was there when Pottsville Fire Chief Jim Misstishin and a city police officer arrived to inform Weaver that he’d be cited Monday.

Pottsville Fire Chief Jim Misstishin informs Black Rock Brewing Co. owner Bobby Weaver that he’d be cited for holding a Free Beer event on March 16. (Coal Region Canary photo)

Now, it appears the city might have itself a clerical nightmare. It looks like there’s a glaring error on the 3 filings.

Black Rock Owner Cited, Fined by Pottsville for Free Beer Event

Here’s a look at the actual citations filed against Weaver …

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Weaver is cited for violating a city ordinance and a pair of violations of the 2015 International Property Maintenance Code.

Each of the violations carries a $300 fine plus $40.25 in fees. The alleged violation of the city ordinance also has another $133.42 in costs tacked on. So, the total cost of all 3 violations – if Weaver is found guilty – would be $1,154.17.

Weaver responded to these citations in a conversation with The Canary on Saturday saying, “Another blatant waste of taxpayer money and the court’s time. We will fight all of them.”

Violation 1: Food-Handling and Drinking Establishments

The City says food handling and drinking establishments in Pottsville must have a valid license from the Health Officer.

In the citation, Pottsville contends “There is no license for Black Rock Brewing Co.”

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Weaver questioned this citation, wondering if companies participating in other one-day festivals, for example, need to get licensed by the Pottsville Health Officer.

Also, he said his Health Inspection license for Black Rock was renewed on April 21, 2023, and is supposed to be valid for a year. He’s guessing that Pottsville voided it, perhaps, when his property was condemned after the May 2023 fire.

Weaver also said that Pottsville charged him in August 2023 for a renewal on his beverage license and that he paid the $25 to renew it.

Notice the date of the alleged violation? It shows the violation happened on 3-17-24 … oops! The Free Beer event was on March 16.

Violation 2: Unsafe Structures & Equipment – Prohibited Occupancy

This violation of the IPMC is also a summary offense. In the citation filed in District Court, the city says, “The owner allowed people to occupy the premises of a condemned property. No owner shall let anyone occupy a placarded premises or operate placarded equipment. The premises was occupied on 3-17-2024.”

Violation 3: Unsafe Equipment

In the citation, Pottsville says, “The premises was posted condemned on 5-17-2023 for unsafe equipment that was hazardous to the life, health, and safety to the public and occupants of the premises.”

This violation, like the other alleged IPMC infraction, is dated the day after the Free Beer event, at 6 p.m. on March 17.

Weaver told The Canary on Saturday, “There was not a soul on premises on 3-17 (March 17th).”

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Coalregion12

    March 23, 2024 at 8:46 pm

    Instead of just letting it die a natural death and move on, City of Pottsville doubles down and issues 3 citations.
    Clews said it was a “public relation nightmare”, when the City tried to stop the event. What is issuing 3 citations?
    “Public relation bliss”?
    And still no one from City have been down to inspect the property.
    Unbelievable

  2. Lori

    March 24, 2024 at 1:20 pm

    This is a witch hunt. If the city was truly interested in maintaining codes, PITTSVILLE wouldn’t be the dump it is. No one was in the condemned building and there are no barriers around the building keeping people out. I don’t necessarily like the owner or his attitude but fair is fair. These citations are discriminatory and wonder if all other beer event holders are treated the same?

  3. PTFloridian

    March 25, 2024 at 4:54 pm

    …all the crappy streets, businesses, and dumpy houses rife with deadbeats and do-nothings, and they’re busting the Weaver’s stones… generations of businessmen and local contributors of gads of revenue and taxes, trying to drum up something good…what a pitiful waste of time and effort, aiming in the wrong direction…i wish the very best for Abby and Bobby moving forward.

  4. K.C.

    March 27, 2024 at 10:31 pm

    I had a great time, thank you for having the event. See ya at the next one….Re-grand Opening!!!

  5. Val

    March 29, 2024 at 2:58 pm

    Well.. hopefully other business owners are watching closely the conflict and learning their lesson. And the lesson is: stay away from Schuylkill County.

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