Eight restaurant all-alcohol licenses, added to Braintree's stock for the purpose of boosting small business development in the Squares and the Landing, are now available to establishments with 75 seats or less.
Earlier this month, Gov. Deval Patrick signed a home rule petition submitted by Mayor Joseph Sullivan to fight the high demand and corresponding high price of liquor licenses in Braintree.
“These new licenses will allow us to place smaller restaurant venues throughout Town, particularly in our three Square areas," Sullivan said in a statement. “We envisioned the Landing improvements to be a stimulus for economic activity and these licenses will help us in that effort.”
Sullivan's legislation originally allotted six licenses – two for each area targeted for development. Legislators changed the bill significantly prior to passage, imposing a 75-seat limit for the licenses rather than the geographic targeting and also made the request eight instead of six.
Bill sponsors Rep. Mark Cusack, D-Braintree, and Sen. John F. Keenan, D-Quincy, and other officials said the changes will still allow for the same purpose, though some business owners questioned the wisdom of adding more licenses and diluting the value of existing ones.
“These new liquor licenses will be granted through the town at a far lower rate than buying a license on the open market,” Cusack said in a statement. “This will help attract new small businesses to our Squares and the Landing.”
Added Keenan, “Mayor Joseph Sullivan and the Town Council deserve tremendous credit for bringing continued economic growth to Braintree. These additional licenses will ensure that Braintree remains home to a wonderful mix of neighborhood eateries and nationally-known restaurants."
The law took effect immediately upon its signing by the governor, Town Clerk and Board of License Commissioners Joe Powers said, because its language does not stipulate otherwise.
If any of the eight licenses are revoked or no longer in use, they will be returned to the town, which can then issue the license to a new applicant whose business also meets the conditions of the special legislation.
A town's total number of alcohol licenses is determined in Massachusetts by its population as recorded every 10 years by the U.S Census, unless the legislature approves more.
Last summer, Braintree officials learned that the town had gained six alcohol licenses because it grew in population by nearly 2,000 residents, to 35,744, from 2000 to 2010. As of last month, there were no all-alcohol restaurant licenses available and two wine & malt licenses available.