Thinking of Drinks

January 6, 2019
Putnam Street Lanes is among the businesses that could be affected by proposed regulations that allow patrons to bring their own alcoholic beverages to drink on site. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE/JOHN LOVE Sentinel and Enterprise staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

By Mina Corpuz

mcorpuz@sentinel andenterprise.com

FITCHBURG -- Some businesses that could be affected by proposed regulations that allow patrons to bring their own alcoholic beverages to drink on site are looking for answers at the Board of License Commissioner’s next meeting.


“We would like information,” said Stacey Sparrow, owner of Art on the Rocks studio at Parkhill Plaza. “We really have not been informed on the subject.”

She said the proposed rules could close the business or cause it to relocate outside of Fitchburg.

Sparrow plans to come to a Monday meeting with questions for the commission, like what its members think about concerns from businesses and when regulations could go into effect.

The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Monday at the fire department headquarters on North Street.

Commissioners will continue discussion about regulations that could limit “bring your own bottle” service, which is commonly known as BYOB.

“Right now there are no BYOB regulations by default since the state has removed them,” Commission Chair Daniel Sarefield said at a September meeting.

He was not available for comment Friday.

At least six businesses the city -- including some that don’t serve meals like Putnam Street Lanes bowling alley and Arts on the Rocks -- offer BYOB.

The commission drafted an ordinance that would require businesses to obtain a $100 license for BYOB and set limits, including what type of establishments are eligible for a permit, when the practice would be allowed, type of alcohol, and size of drinks people can bring.

Only businesses with on-premise dining with table service and a wait staff that don’t have an alcohol license would be eligible for a BYOB license under the regulations.

They would also require licensees to have liquor liability insurance and all employees of the licensed establishment to receive safe alcohol service training.

Licensing BYOB businesses would let the city track businesses for any problems, according to Sarefield.

It is ultimately up to the City Council whether to make the regulations law.

Two petitions against the proposed regulations signed by more than 2,000 people were submitted at a previous commission meeting. Sparrow said that she and Putnam Lanes owner Gary Therrien collected the signatures.

Discussion about regulations date back to 2016. The commission held several meetings at the end of 2018 to collect public input.

Follow Mina on Twitter @mlcorpuz

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