SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

January 27, 2014

Danvers seeks six new liquor licenses

BY ETHAN FORMAN
STAFF WRITER

---- — DANVERS — A Special Town Meeting Feb. 3 will decide whether the town will petition the state Legislature for six additional liquor licenses.

A “yes” vote on Article 5 would send a home-rule petition seeking the licenses to Beacon Hill lawmakers.

The town will determine where the licenses go at a later date.

Danvers’ desire for more liquor licenses comes at a time when Peabody is making a push for 10 more, and Beverly is seeking four new licenses at Happy Clam Seafood Cafe, Larcom Theatre, Wicked Art Bar and Half Baked Cafe and Bakery.

The six new licenses would be the all-alcoholic type. Under the proposal, the license holder cannot transfer the license “to any other person, corporation or organization for three years after the original issuance.”

“The intent is not to allow the transfer from one business to another not associated with the business,” said selectmen Chairman Gardner Trask.

The proposal does not call for the creation of more package-store licenses, Town Manager Wayne Marquis said.

Licenses that are canceled, revoked or no longer in use would be returned to the town.

Town Clerk Joseph Collins said the article gives the town some flexibility as to where the new licenses might go, helping to spur economic development.

For instance, if a restaurant is granted the license in Danvers Square and it closes within three years, selectmen would be able to relocate the license to another address where someone wants to open a restaurant.

Selectmen met Dec. 17 to discuss adding licenses in advance of the February Town Meeting.

The town presently has 48 various types of alcohol licenses issued, Collins said, but there is a demand for more.

Of these, 26 are all-alcoholic licenses for restaurants, seven are beer and wine licenses for restaurants, and two are for all-alcoholic club licenses (Knights of Columbus on Elm Street and Polish Club on Cheever Street).

Six are for all-alcoholic package stores and seven are for beer and wine package stores, such as convenience stores or gas stations.

The latest restaurant to be awarded a beer and wine license from the town was Daily Harvest Cafe on High Street, Collins said.

During that hearing this past fall, there were at least three applicants for the single beer and wine license.

Two of the 48 licenses, at Sawasdee Thai Restaurant on Maple Street and at McKinnon’s Butcher Shop on Holten Street, were special licenses that involved owners petitioning Town Meeting and the state Legislature for approval.

State Rep. Ted Speliotis, D-Danvers, said there is a good chance the home-rule petition would pass if it’s drafted properly.

“It’s Town Meeting’s decision to discuss the expansion of licenses,” Speliotis said.

If Town Meeting passes the home-rule petition next month, town officials hope the state Legislature would act on it by the end of this year.

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.