A Wellesley Special Town Meeting approved an article that moves the town closer to reducing the number of seats required by a restaurant to apply for a liquor license, as reported by boston.com and local Wellesley media.
Because this item was approved, the Board of Selectmen will now petition the state legislature to write special legislation which will authorize the board to grant special alcohol service licenses to restaurants with between 50 to 99 seats, according to the Advisory Committee’s reports to Special Town Meeting.
Currently, a Wellesley restaurant must have 100 seats to qualify for a license to serve any alcohol.
There are now 12 licenses issued to restaurants and six to colleges and social clubs in town, which are each “all-alcohol” licenses. The state has capped the number of total possible liquor licenses for Wellesley at 29 all-alcohol and 12 wine and malt beverages (beer), according to the Virginia Ferko, chair of the Advisory Committee.
Selectman Katherine Babson said the board anticipates that it will only issue beer and wine licenses to restaurants with between 50 and 99 seats, despite the ability to dispense all-alcohol licenses.
According to Advisory Committee reports, the state legislature could act upon a petition as early as January or February of next year. Babson said this item will then likely take shape as a town ballot question during the spring election.
Babson said assuming the state signs off and the town votes to accept this change next year, the board will consider further changes to alcohol regulations after a sufficient public input process.