WENHAM — The town will now have a convenience store that sells beer and wine.
Selectmen, who also serve as the town’s Licensing Board, unanimously voted Tuesday night to grant the town’s only package store license to Richdale on Topsfield Road. The public hearing process started on Dec. 18 and was continued to Tuesday’s meeting to give selectmen time to confirm zoning regulations.
Mark Lanza, special counsel to the board, reported that the license would be allowed without Zoning Board of Appeals approval under town policy.
Under the approved license, the store will be able to sell beer and wine between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m., when the store closes.
Selectmen made their decision after hearing comments from residents both in support and opposition of the store’s application, according to an online video streaming of the meeting.
“I think this will enhance his business and would enhance the community,” said Virginia Place resident Dave St. Laurent.
Maple Street resident Lou Terranova spoke against the proposal, saying one of the reasons his family moved to Wenham was because there were no stores to buy alcohol.
“I think it will change the character of the neighborhood,” he said. “If the consent of the board is that they want to change the character of the neighborhood and take a fairly pristine area and add some risk to it, then it’s on you. But my recommendation would be to evaluate this proposal and consider what it does to the neighborhood ... and the opinions of the people who live in the area.”
Albert Abdelmalak has owned the store at the intersection of Route 97 and Cherry and Maple streets since October 2011.
Abdelmalak’s attorney, Thomas Truax, said his client is deserving of the license. There will only be one sign in the front of the store letting customers know that it sells beer and wine, he noted.