By Joan Bowen
Dateline: February 3, 2015
During their meeting on January 12, the Selectmen requested that the Warrant include an article to approve a home rule petition for additional alcoholic beverage licenses. At that meeting two license requests were under consideration. The last of 14 available licenses was awarded to Red Heat, a new restaurant to be located at the Bedford Marketplace, but the Selectmen were unable to provide a full license to Ken’s NY Deli Restaurant, currently restricted to wine and beer. (See https://thebedfordcitizen.org/2015/01/15/Ken’s-ny-deli-expansion-is-approved-and-red-heat-is-granted-bedfords-last-full-liquor-license/)
The proposed article would expand the number of alcohol licenses available to be granted to Bedford restaurants. Additional licenses are considered essential for further growth of the restaurant industry in town, growth that would provide additional funds to support the Bedford economy. The current cap at 14 is based on population. It does not factor in the number of people who work in Bedford.
At the Selectmen’s February 3 meeting, Town Manager Rick Reed presented the proposed wording for an article to approve a home rule petition for additional alcoholic beverage licenses. One approach would request a specified number of additional licenses. The other, consistent with what the State is currently requesting from communities seeking additional licenses, would provide a breakdown of a total number by designated area or specific locations. The draft article included both options.
The Selectmen favored a request for an additional number as a total rather than a breakdown by location. Some thought the request for eight more licenses was too high, with others commenting that it was difficult to make that judgment. The Selectmen agreed that a case will need to be developed, whatever the number. Alyssa Sandoval, Economic Development Coordinator, and the Chamber of Commerce were identified as potential sources of information to help determine a defensible number.