The Block Island Times

Council holds annual liquor license hearing

Payne’s Harborview hearing continued
By Stephanie Turaj | Nov 22, 2013

The Town Council, at its Wednesday, Nov. 20 meeting, approved almost 30 liquor licenses for island establishments.

Among the licenses approved, The Spring House Hotel received a partial expansion of its liquor service area. The Spring House will now be allowed to serve liquor in a barn designed as a small restaurant.

The Spring House will open a small, 20-seat restaurant during the winter season, said the hotel’s General Manager, David Houseman.

Originally, the Spring House applied to extend its liquor service area to its entire property. However, in response to letters from three neighbors expressing concerns about potential noise and increased activity, the council chose to limit the expansion to the barn only. Also, the council voted that the Spring House can only serve liquor in the barn when the main restaurant is closed.

The council then went through 29 establishments up for the renewal of various classes of liquor licenses, and unanimously approved all of them but one.

The only renewal not approved was for Payne’s Harborview Inn. The council voted to continue the hearing for Payne’s liquor license until January, after a decision is expected from the Zoning Board. First Warden Kim Gaffett reported that Payne’s is currently waiting on a decision from the Zoning Board on zoning violations.

While approving the other renewals, the council paused at a few to make comments.

Town Councilor Chris Warfel asked about the complaints received regarding Ballard’s Inn, located near Old Harbor.

“The calls seem to be down,” added Gaffett. Second Warden Ken Lacoste agreed, stating that Ballard’s seemed to be taking measures to reduce a past problem with “unruly behavior.”

“This was a very good year for all island establishments,” said Police Chief Vincent Carlone.

However, Carlone said he was concerned about one establishment, Yellow Kittens on Corn Neck Road, for “over serving” its customers. Carlone said there is new management taking over this year at Kittens, and he has spoken with management representatives to reduce this problem.

There was also a brief discussion regarding Club Soda, located on Connecticut Avenue, which received nine citizen complaints over the past year, six of which were noise complaints

“That’s a lot of noise complaints,” remarked Town Councilor McGarry.

Carlone said Club Soda is close to a residential area. “That particular club is always going to have complaints. They [Club Soda’s management] generally cooperate and find a way to compromise.”

Two years ago, in 2011, Club Soda had accumulated 26 citizen complaints. In 2012, that number decreased to 22. This year it was nine. “They have taken measures to reduce the complaints,” remarked Lacoste.

The council also unanimously approved a new license for outdoor entertainment at Yellow Kittens. There was no comment from the public or the council on this matter.

The council also approved the renewal of 19 outdoor entertainment licenses. The council removed restrictions that had been previously placed on where the Surf Hotel could have its outdoor entertainment.

Also at the Town Council meeting, the council reconsidered a previous approval that allowed Harbormaster Steve Land to train as a police officer. However, the vote to make this reconsideration failed in a 2-3 vote. Warfel and McGarry were the two aye votes.

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