Friday, July 15, 2005
Selectmen approve alcohol sale policy
On June 28 the Board of Selectmen voted to approve a policy for issuing licenses to dispense alcohol with the restriction that no off-premise (package store) sales will take place on Sunday. Voters at last fall's Town Meeting approved the sale of beer and wine but not harder alcohol. According to quotas set by the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (ABCC), the town can issue up to five one-year licenses.
Town Administrator Madonna McKenzie noted an oddity of the law is that communities can't restrict hours beyond certain "hours of sale as a matter of right." For example, a license for off-premise sales must allow sales Monday through Saturday from at least 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. (11:30 before a holiday). A town can extend hours as late as 2 a.m., and can also disallow Sunday hours. Sellers for on-premise consumption, such as restaurants, are allowed hours from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and Sunday noon — 11 p.m. These hours can be extended, but Sunday hours cannot be restricted. Special one-day licenses can be issued with the same hours allowances as on-premise licenses.
Selectman Bill Tice expressed dismay that the town cannot enforce an earlier closing time than 11 p.m. and wondered if extra police patrols might be required. Tony Allison agreed that citizens who "voted for a cold beer on a hot day at Larry's store" might not approve of the late hours. Larry Bearfield, owner of Ferns Country Store, noted that proprietors will have an incentive to make sure the policy works to avoid having the law rescinded.
Last fall's vote enables the Selectmen to grant a two-year, temporary license for the sale of wine and beer. In order to make Carlisle permanently undry, the same question must be passed at the next two state elections, in November 2006 and 2008.
The cost of licenses will be $1,500 to the town and $200 to the ABCC. Applicants must be free of narcotics or felony convictions and over 21. Sales help must be over 18. Training at a state-approved program such as Serve-Safe will be required. Applications must be approved or denied within thirty days. According to McKenzie, licenses must be granted based on "the best interest of the public and need in the community." Therefore the Selectmen can deny applications if they feel too many licenses have been issued. If rejected, an applicant can appeal to the ABCC. According to McKenzie, as of this week, no applications have been received.
© 2005 The