Though the three full-liquor licenses allotted to the town are already spoken for, one of several available Wine and Malt licenses has been granted to .
The Board of Selectmen held a public hearing on the request at its March 1 meeting, with Attorney Mark Rosenfeld presenting on behalf of the car wash’s manager, John Carrigg. The business, currently combines gasoline sales, a convenience store, car wash and Dunkin’ Donuts at its 270 Main St. location.
Rosenfeld noted that Gulf Resources, owner of the establishment, has a total of five locations, including those in Foxboro and Lakeville, where liquor sales are conducted.
“I have letters from the Police Chiefs of those towns,” said Rosenfeld, “which state that there have been no problems (at those locations).”
Selectman Osler (Pete) Peterson said “in terms of need, I’m not sure there is a need for another liquor store [in Medfield].” He noted, however, that “we [the Board of Selectmen] are not in a position to decide what people sell or don’t sell.”
Among the Board’s concerns was the potential impact on traffic in the area. Medfield Chief of Police, Robert Meaney was asked to speak on that issue and stated that although “traffic has certainly increased since [the car wash] was just a repair shop," he didn’t foresee any major problems.
The Board was also concerned with the separation of liquor products from other items and were informed by Rosenfeld that “the alcohol area only takes up about 5 percent of the store” and that it was not his client’s intent to “morph from a convenience store to a liquor store.” He also noted that the floor plan of the building “allows for seeing anybody in the vicinity of alcohol,” which would have its own separate sales area, as mandated by the ABCC (Alcohol Beverages Control Commission).
Rosenfeld explained the owners have completed an alcohol awareness program and to thwart underage purchases, they plan to install an “I.D. scanner” which has “a proven track record of denying sales” to minors. The machine scans driver’s licenses, which contain bar coded information including birth dates.
Following Rosenfeld’s presentation, Selectman Ann Thompson sought direction from Town Counsel, Mark Cerel, as to what other information the Board should request from the applicant. Cerel suggested that the Board find out more about the staffing situation. “How many people are working there at any one time?” he offered, as an example.
The question was put to the applicant, who admitted that the number of people working at any one time would vary. The Board then wondered at the age of those involved in the liquor sales, with Ann Thompson pointing out that “Ironically, although the legal age to buy alcohol is 21, in Massachusetts you can sell it if you are at least 18 years of age.” As a condition of granting the license, the Selectmen stipulated that those involved in liquor sales must be at least 21 years old.
Selectman Thompson expressed her concern that, by granting the license, other Medfield establishments, such as Medfield Wine Shoppe might be adversely affected. Rosenfeld replied that “it won’t affect it by a dollar.” He added that the Medfield Commons Car Wash would not be a “destination” for liquor sales and therefore, would not be a danger to existing businesses such as Medfield Wine Shoppe.