- Written by Susanna Sheehan
- Published: 13 August 2014
The recent spate of applications for seasonal package store licenses has ended as town officials have learned from the state liquor-licensing bureau that only one of these licenses is allowed in Duxbury.
Town Manager René Read explained the issue at the Board of Selectmen’s meeting Monday night. It stems from an error made at the state level when an official at the Alcoholic Beverages Control Com- mission told the town there was “no limit” on seasonal liquor licenses. This turned out to be incorrect information.
In early June, selectmen granted a seasonal all alcohol package store license to Sandy Lambert’s Marketplace on St. George Street. This convenience store already had an annual beer and wine liquor license. The seasonal off premise package store license allows the store to sell liquor from April through November. It was approved by the ABCC.
Later in June, the Board of Selectmen received another request for a seasonal all alcohol package store license from Bo Tes-Duxbury LLC, another small grocery/deli on Tremont Street with a beer and wine li-cense that wanted to sell liquor as well.
Looking for guidance, Duxbury’s Municipal Services Department wrote to the ABCC seeking clarification on how many seasonal liquor licenses could be issued. In an email, Renata Thomas, the As- sistant Director of Operations at the ABCC in Boston wrote back: “There is no limit to seasonal liquor licenses.”
With this information, selectmen approved the seasonal license for Bo-Tes-Duxbury, LLC.
After receiving a third application for a season package store license in July from the Hall’s Corner Store, a small convenience store with a beer and wine license, town officials made additional efforts to get more information from the ABCC about the seasonal off- premise licenses.
“The process of reviewing a third application prompted further investigation by town staff including several conversations with the Executive Director of the ABCC, which has resulted in finding that the ABCC was incorrect in its initial assertion that there was ‘no limit to seasonal liquor li- censes,’” said Read.
The ABCC blamed the error on staffing – the person who provided the response had not been on the job very long, according to Read.
“There is, in fact, a limit to the number of seasonal off- premise liquor licenses and that limited number is one.” Read said.
Seasonal package store licenses are based on an estimate of the temporary increase in resident population for the upcoming season as of July 10. The local licensing authority – the selectmen in Duxbury – may issue off-premise seasonal licenses based on the estimate at the rate of one license for each 5,000 additional summer residents (or fraction thereof), according to Read.
Every year, the town clerk sets an estimate of how many year-round residents and how many summer people will be living in Duxbury. The Board of Selectmen votes to certify this information and submits it to the ABCC.
In January, then-Town Clerk Nancy Oates certified that there were 15,684 year round residents in Duxbury and 1,000 summer residents. In February, selectmen voted to send this information to the ABCC.
With 1,000 additional summer residents, the town had only one seasonal package store license available. That went to Sandy Lambert’s Marketplace.
The ABCC will not approve the seasonal package store license for Bo-Tes, Duxbury, LLC., Read said.
As a result of this information, the Board of Selectmen took no action on the application from Hall’s Corner Store and voted to close the public hearing for it.