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Selectmen Discuss Getting More Liquor Licenses

For Mansfield to obtain more liquor licenses, it would have to be voted on at Town Meeting before going to the state legislature for approval.

Patch file photo
Patch file photo
The Mansfield Board of Selectmen discussed adding more liquor licenses for the town, to accommodate at expanded businesses opportunity that will come with redeveloping downtown and the area around the train station, at Wednesday night's meeting.

Chairman Jess Aptowitz said that several interested business have approach the town about obtaining licenses, but all of Mansfield's licenses are in use. 

"Variety is important; people don't necessarily always want to go to the same restaurant," said Town Manager Bill Ross. The first step would be to have the Town Clerk draw up a petition for more licenses, which would then have to be approved by residents at Town Meeting before it goes to the state legislature for approval. 

Ross said that the Selectmen could ask for different types licenses, such as ones for restaurants to just sell beer and wine, or for liquor stores. There is even some interest in opening a microbrewer in the old chocolate factory, he said.

Ross suggested that selectmen request a higher number of licenses like nine, rather than a lower number like three, to avoid going back to the legislature again soon. "You can still decide whether to issues them," he said. 

Selectman Olivier Kozlowski suggesting being strategic about which locations they pick, based on whether there is a need for a certain type of establishment in different areas of town. 

Police Chief Ronald Sellon agreed, saying that specifically targeting what kind of licenses go where, would minimize the negative impact on the community. 

"Am I in favor of another big box liquor store? Absolutely not," he said. "But another restaurant could bring in commerce and tax revenue. It we have too many more licenses, there's a possibility of it have a negative impact on [the police department.] It depends on what you're looking at and what location."

The selectmen did not decide how many licenses to ask for but moved to have the Town Clerk draw up a petition for consideration at the next Town Meeting. 

Do you think there should be more liquor licenses in Mansfield? What you you like to see, another liquor store? More restaurants? Let us know in the comments below! 
BH January 28, 2014 at 06:43 AM
Yeah brewery is a good idea, problem is you'd still need an investor/owners, and it's an incredibly tough and expensive business to start. Not to mention the constant down-voting of ideas at that location.
Olivier Kozlowski January 28, 2014 at 10:15 AM
The way I understand it, the "targeting" issue has 2 benefits. First, we're more likely to actually get the additional licenses if we have plans for them. If you can show that you anticipate growth in a particular area, that demonstrates a likely need - and makes a more convincing case at the state level. Second, let's say we have 3 available licenses that can be used anywhere in town, but would like to see something go in at a particular location. Before anything happens at that location, we get 3 applications for other locations. Assuming those 3 applicants meet all the background checks, etc. it's difficult to deny, because the only standard is whether there is a "need" for a license where the applicant wants to use it. At the end of the day, do you "need" a license in one part of town vs another?
Tina Mqs January 28, 2014 at 01:29 PM
seems the definition of 'need' is a little shaky. Also, if the state might be looking at our case for licenses based on anticipated growth, will our town strategic plan and all that other stuff have to jive with that tack? For ex, if we say to the townspeople that our bylaws and etc won't go for development here or there (residential development, that is), will the state check to see if that's where we kinda wanted to put one?
Pam Gagnon January 28, 2014 at 02:13 PM
I'm with Kitchen Sink on this one - get them (licenses) in and give them out to those that qualify. I DO NOT believe there should be one iota of subjectivity in this whole process be it the location of the proposed business, type of business licenses can be granted to OR, potentially the name of the applicant. The role of the BOS in my mind is to insure those that apply for the license are qualified applicants period, end of story - supply and demand will take care of the rest.

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