Liquor licenses approved
The Town Council — meeting as the New Shoreham Board of License Commissioners — approved all the liquor license applications on the agenda, except for The Gables on Dodge Street. The council made its decisions at the annual licensing meeting on Thursday, Nov. 12.
The owners of the property (Plat 6, Lot 131) had submitted applications for two separate licenses: a New Class BV liquor license, and a new outdoor entertainment license. Both applications were denied because The Gables is located within 200 feet of a house of worship, St. Andrew Catholic Church on Chapel Street. Surrounding residents, neighbors, abutters, and members of the church had sent in letters and expressed their concerns on the applications.
“The neighbors and abutters are not happy,” said Second Warden André Boudreau.
Lark Hotels Director of Human Resources and Accounts Manager Ellen Blood joined the call to provide some background. She noted The Gables is looking to have outside food and music available, similar to the environment at the Block Island Beach House. Lark Hotels currently owns and operates the Block Island Beach House and The Gables.
“We are not talking about amplified bands, we are having some fun music around the pool just out on the back where people can sit in lounge chairs and relax. This property is going to be geared for families,” said Blood, adding that the establishment will be “respectful of our neighbors.” A pool is scheduled to be installed on the property for the next season, confirmed Blood.
Blood stated the establishment would “be willing to sit down with the abutters and find an acceptable agreement.”
“I would like the opportunity to table it,” said Blood.
Councilor Sven Risom agreed on holding off from making a decision on the application until the applicant “knows where things are going.” He also noted that if the application was denied, the applicant can reapply.
But Boudreau was opposed to the application.
“I’m ready to vote. I don’t support it,” said Boudreau, due to the proximity of The Gables Inn to the church, and the noise level that may be produced on Dodge Street from the establishment.
Boudreau made a motion to deny the outdoor entertainment license, with First Warden Ken Lacoste seconding the motion. The application was denied 3-1 with Councilor Chris Willi recused due to the fact that he holds a liquor license as owner of Capt. Nick’s.
Covid-19 language for licenses
Covid-19 cases are continuing to rise in the United States. Block Island saw its 20th Covid-19 case this past week, which was announced by the Block Island Medical Center on Monday, Nov. 16.
Risom asked Lacoste if “anything regarding Covid-19 and emergency ordinances” should be drafted into the language regarding liquor licenses.
“I’ve drafted some wording here to suggest… I’ll put it out there for the council to consider,” said Lacoste.
Lacoste began to read his liquor license memorandum to the council. (Willi recused himself from the discussion.)
“The Liquor License Rules and Regulations of the Town of New Shoreham require that a liquor license holder comply with town ordinances. In the event that a license holder fails to comply with an applicable town ordinance, the Board of License Commissioners may revoke or suspend the license or impose a $500.00 fine for each violation after a hearing; however, if the Board determines that the public health, safety or welfare requires immediate suspension or revocation, the Board may suspend or revoke the license and then provide the licensee with a hearing.
“The Town’s COVID-19 Emergency Ordinance II requires that all persons fully comply with all federal, state and local emergency directives and orders. A license holder’s failure to comply with federal, state and/or local COVID-19 orders and ordinances may result in fines and/or suspension or revocation of the license,” concluded Lacoste.
“I think it would be a good idea for us to make all the liquor license holders aware of the wording, and to give them copies of the wording, perhaps when they pick up their license,” said Lacoste.
Lacoste asked Town Manager Maryanne Crawford “to direct the Clerk’s Office to make sure all liquor license holders receive this notification when they pick up their licenses?”
“Will do,” said Crawford.
Island residents Kimberly Ward and Laurie McTeague, doing business as Block Island Cookie Company, were on the agenda for a public hearing on a new liquor license. Block Island Cookie Company is located at the Block Island Maritime Institute building on Ocean Avenue.
Boudreau asked Ward and McTeague to give a “run down of your operation. We would like to hear what you have planned.”
“Last year, we stopped doing lunch because of Covid-19. We would like to extend our services on the deck — the outside dining area — and have the beer and wine licenses. We are changing our menu to pizza and things like that, keep it family oriented,” said McTeague, noting the serving area for alcohol would be on the side deck of the building only.
Boudreau made a motion to close the public hearing, and the council approved the new liquor license. Willi and Lacoste recused themselves from the hearing; Lacoste is a dock master near the location.