Friday, January 9, 2004
Permits delay opening of Ferns Country Store at rotary
Larry Bearfield and Robin Emerson of Carlisle Center Ventures appeared before the Board of Selectmen on January 6 to request approval of a Common Victualler's License for Ferns Country Store. Chair Tim Hult observed that this is the first application in Carlisle for such a license. No one present could recall a Victualler's license being issued many years ago when the Carlisle Superette became Daisy's Market. Nonetheless, what seemed to be a simple and straightforward process has turned into a nightmare for the enterprising couple.
State health inspectors from Concord have found several violations, none of which are considered major. They can be resolved rather quickly and pose little threat to the timely opening of the new store. The controversy, however, is whether the facility is considered as the continuation of an existing business or a new enterprise. The requirements for a new enterprise are considerably more stringent than for the continuation of an existing business and would pose a lengthy and expensive delay for Bearfield and Emerson.
The town's building inspector has already approved the facility as a continuation of an existing business. Selectman Vivian Chaput does not believe that the state health inspectors from Concord need to be involved in such a determination, and thus it remains only for the Carlisle Board of Health to grant final approval. For reasons unknown, the chair of the BOH, Martha Bedrosian, has not returned calls as to whether she can attend a special meeting.
The Board of Health has posted a meeting for January 7, whether or not Bedrosian attends. "Two members can call a meeting and vote," said Town Administrator Madonna McKenzie. "If the chair refuses to attend, the other two members [a quorum] can approve the license." Since all of the necessary forms have been completed, except for the Board of Health approval, the Selectmen moved to approve the Victualler's License as a continuation of an existing business, contingent on approval by the Board of Health. The motion passed by a vote of 4-0-1, with Doug Stevenson abstaining to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest (Bearfield has been assisting Stevenson in his campaign). Hult agreed to try to contact Bedrosian to move the process along.
Once all permits are in hand, it will take about two days to restock the store, Bearfield told the Mosquito. The unexpected delay, he continued, is costing them $3,000 a day and causing ten people to be unemployed. In addition, residents feel the impact of the closure of the only food establishment in Carlisle.
© 2004 The