Burger King Denied 24-Hour Operation, Braintree Farmers Market Wine Licenses Granted
Braintree's Burger King will continue to operate from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. unless it chooses to petition the Planning Board for a change to their special permit.
The Braintree Board of License Commissioners shot down one restaurant's request on Tuesday afternoon and approved two farm winery permits, setting up the Town Hall-based farmers market with the same wine retail makeup this upcoming season as last and telling Burger King that the board does not support the Pearl Street fast food joint staying open through the night.
Commissioners voted 4-0 to deny Burger King's request, based on its special permit, which only allows the restaurant hours of 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., and also out of concern for public safety. Marybeth McGrath was absent. Police Chief Paul Frazier compared the possibility to the former 24-hour operation at Bickford's – a draw for crime at the rotary, he said.
"From a public safety standpoint, I would be opposed to this," Frazier said. "To me it's just a problem waiting to happen."
Burger King is moving toward 24-hour locations, district manager Douglas Whyte told the board, and its request in Braintree was only for the drive-through. Frazier said he would expect the same level of police activity at the restaurant even with that limitation, saying that cars would be "spilling over" to the Shaw's parking lot.
"To be fair to one and all, it would be opening Pandora's Box," board chair Joe Powers said.
Wendy's sold the property to Burger King in 1997, at which time the hours were 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., according to an email by Planning and Community Development Director Christine Stickney. Later that year, the Planning Board approved the expanded 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. hours.
Chief Frazier also expressed concern about the Special Farmer's Market licenses granted on Tuesday to Coastal Vineyards of Dartmouth and Turtle Creek Winery of Lincoln. The permits allow them to sell but not sample wine at Sustainable Braintree's weekly farmers market, running from June through November.
Frazier abstained on both votes, arguing that alcohol should not be sold at the center of the town's government. Mayor Joseph Sullivan, as the landlord, granted permission to use Town Hall.
Both vineyards operated during last season's market for the first time, following a law passed by the state legislature in 2010 aimed at boosting Massachusetts agriculture. Regulations developed by Braintree officials do not allow taste testing and permit only two of the special licenses to be granted.