After many months of hearings, piles of criticism and numerous compromises with Braintree officials, Dave & Buster's received a license for amusement devices on Tuesday evening, allowing the restaurant, bar and arcade to move forward with its plans to take over the old Circuit City building at the .
The Board of License Commissioners voted unanimously on six provisions related to the operation of 170 games, agreeing that the company's plans were satisfactory on issues such as keeping minors away from alcohol, the reputation and character of the establishment and public safety.
Members then unanimously approved an overall motion granting the license. Attached to that action were conditions that Dave & Buster's provide as-built plans to ensure the gaming area does not exceed 49 percent of the public space in the building, the manager on the license undergo criminal background checks and the company confirm an arrangement with the town to provide funds for a police cruiser.
That vehicle should cost in the range of $30,000 to $35,000, Chief of Staff and Operations Peter Morin said after the meeting. Operational hours will be Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
"The process has been lengthy and demanding, but I think the proposed use will be better in the long run," Andrew Upton, a lawyer representing the restaurant, said.
An updated ordinance was adopted 5-4 last summer by the that discarded the previous limit of four amusement devices in one location. Planning Board members gave their approval on Oct. 4. They included conditions such as a review of special permits nine to 12 months after the establishment's opening and police and fire detail requirements.
Several Braintree residents and officials spoke out against granting the license on Tuesday, reiterating claims from last year's hearing process that Dave & Buster's poses a threat to public safety because it mixes alcohol with games available to minors.
"We can do better than Dave and Buster's," said Alan Flowers, who lives off Granite Street. He pointed to a number of comments he'd heard and seen online in criticizing its reputation, while admitting he'd never been to one of the company's more than 50 locations nationwide. Flowers also objected to the hundreds of people that may use the site at any one time.
"This is going to overwhelm any security that can be developed there," Flowers said.
Henry Joyce and Charles Kokoros, both town councilors, questioned the development while acknowledging the council's previous ordinance approval. Joyce admitted that "we blew it" on language adopted that does not explicitly prohibit the consumption of alcohol in the gaming area, but rather bans serving drinks. He urged license board members to take up the issue, but was rebuffed because they said it was out of the current hearing's jurisdiction.
Police Chief and board member Paul Frazier took objection to safety concerns that were voiced again by residents and officials, saying that police posted at and patrolling the restaurant would be a strong deterrent to crime.
"I think people are resting their hopes on this board shooting the whole thing down," Frazier said. "These things could happen anywhere, unfortunately this is the society we live in."
Dave & Buster's will likely open sometime this fall, Morin said. Company representatives have said they plan to spend about $12 million on the renovations at the 250 Granite St. location. Some 150 full-time and part-time employees will be hired to serve the 552-seat facility, with preference given to Braintree residents.