Officials are hoping to order another round of liquor licenses for Brookline.
A warrant article the Board of Selectmen plans to file for Fall Town Meeting would petition Mass. Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) for up to 11 additional liquor licenses. The Board discussed this proposed article at their Aug. 21 meeting.
Said Selectman Ken Goldstein, "We are at a critical place with our licenses: we’re somewhere between zero and one licenses."
Earlier this year, the Selectmen (conditionally) approved the final few liquor licenses--with some confusion over how many licenses remain when Taberna de Haro, KooKoo Cafe and M.J. Ready applied for licenses.
The proposed warrant article sets a handful of licenses for specific areas in town which the Board hopes to develop: One for the Circle Cinema site, two for the Brookline Place development, and up to five on Waldo Street near the Durgin Garage.
In addition, the article asks for three more licenses to be given at the town's discretion. These licenses will come with some conditions, however, such as the requirement to be held for three years, and for restaurants with 75 seats or fewer.
The aim is to prevent liquor licenses from becoming an expensive commodity traded between businesses, similar to how it is done in Boston. This system can make it a challenge for new businessowners to compete for the handful of licenses available.
According to Goldstein, the language of this article is similar to other home rule petitions which have been successful in the past, such as one brought by Braintree. Officials believe that, if passed by Town Meeting, this article has a good chance of success with the ABCC.
Selectman Nancy Daly suggested adding language about businesses forced to move by circumstances beyond their control, such as fires or rental agreement changes. She specifically referenced the Atrium Mall, which was purchased to become medical offices, and the Cheesecake Factory which currently operates there--as a hypothetical example.
Said Daly, "You don’t want to say, 'you have to stay in the same building forever.'"
After some discussion, the Board agreed to add this broader language, and make revisions during Town Meeting if the ABCC or other experts indicate this is a "make-it-or-break-it" condition, as Daly put it. After filing the warrant article, changes like these may be shot down by Moderator Sandy Gadsby.
The warrant closes on Aug. 30, with Fall Town Meeting set for Nov. 13.