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Medford Councilors Move Forward with Talks of Reducing Restaurant Liquor Regulations

Resolution calls for a home rule petition to reduce needed seats from 99 to 50 for a full liquor license.

Medford City Councilors will consider calling for a reduction in required seating for a restaurant to hold a full liquor license.

The council’s sub-committee on licensing unanimously moved a resolution Tuesday that calls for the council to request a home rule petition to reduce the required number of seats needed to apply for a full liquor license from 99 to 50. The resolution will be considered by the full city council in coming weeks.

The sub-committee consists of Councilors Paul Camuso, Richard Caraviello and Fred Dello Russo.

“This would be beneficial for economic development, but it’s also something to offer the citizens,” Camuso, the chairmen of the sub-committee, said Tuesday.

Currently, restaurants need 19 seats to obtain a beer and wine license, but 99 seats are required to apply to serve other alcoholic beverages.

“People like to go out,” Camuso said. “You can go in there to get your pu pu platter, but you can only get beer and wine.”

Councilor Robert Penta, who sat in on the sub-committee meeting, said he would support reducing the seating, but would not support allowing smaller restaurants with full liquor licenses to serve it at a bar.

“Someone could sit there all night long and get sloshed,” Penta said.

Medford ordinance only allows for 10 percent of seating at a restaurant that serves hard alcohol to be at the bar, Caraviello said, and that wouldn’t leave much room for a bar at smaller establishments anyway.

“It wouldn’t be anymore than five or six people who could sit at the bar if you didn’t change anything," Caraviello said. "That wouldn’t be much of a bar."

If the council were to approve of a home rule petition, Mayor Michael McGlynn would have to sign off on it, then it would be considered by the state’s legislature.

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Ken Krause March 28, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Did the subcommittee take any action regarding the licensing of mobile food carts in the city, which also was on the agenda?
Jarret Bencks (Editor) March 28, 2012 at 03:09 PM
I'm working on a story on food carts/trucks for tomorrow, Ken. They didn't take any action last night. City Solicitor Mark Rumley presented the subcommittee with copies of several city ordinances from Massachusetts and other states regarding food carts/trucks. A couple councilors said they felt they had a long way to go on the topic.

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