On Tuesday night, the Board of Selectmen approved a wine and malt beverage license Gulf Resources, also known as Medfield Commons at 270 Main Street, and managed by John Carrigg.
The business had a license last year (its first year) but did not apply for renewal before the Dec. 31 deadline.
He has since paid the taxes and the water bill but continues to claim he should not have to pay the outstanding sewer charges.
In Medfield, as in many communities, a commercial business sewer charge is 100 percent of its water consumption; Carrigg asserts he does not owe that amount because the car wash on site cleans and reuses a large percentage of the water it buys from the town.
According to Medfield Town Counsel Mark Cerel, Carrigg current owes close to $58,000 in back sewer charges but, because the matter is before the Court (the next hearing is at the end of February), it does not count against the applicant.
Carrigg had to apply for a new license (which includes a hearing which was held during Tuesday's selectmen's meeting. A license renewal simply requires the vote of the board.
During the 35-minute hearing, Carrigg's lawyer, Karen D. Simao of McDermott, Quilty & Miller LLP (which specializes in liquor licenses, she said), said that Carrigg has never incurred a liquor violation and that, "He wants to be a good neighbor, a good resident, a good business resident of the town and would very much like to resume his wine and malt license."
She argued that Carrigg needed to keep additional space it had started to utilize within the store as a place to display his room temperature wines.
The Board of Selectmen took exception to the way Carrigg -- when his former license was in effect -- had prominently displayed the room temperature wine to be the first thing customers see when they walk into the store which includes a convenience store, Dunkin' Donuts, gas station and car wash.
"When you walk in...I was immediately struck that it looked like a liquor store and not a convenience store," said Selectman Osler "Pete" Peterson.
"I just don't want a convenience store to be highlighting liquor," said Board of Selectmen Chairman Ann Thompson.
Simao insisted the applicant had permission to have the liquor elsewhere in the store other than the 135 square feet of cooler storage that was discussed in the original license hearing.
Selectman Mark Fisher was clearly frustrated with the applicant's insistence that the warm area liquor areas were permitted.
"I, personally, feel that you maybe took advantage of us a little bit...you bent the rules a little bit," Fisher said. "I'm not comfortable at all with how its laid out here."
The applicant responded, saying the business had expanded and he was trying to meet customer demand.
"During the time that the wine was placed back there [in the beer and wine area], there were a lot of requests from customers looking for room-temperature wine," said Carrigg, explaining he had taken over some shelf space because the store had to evolve to meet customer needs.
When the board suggested the hearing be continued to allow Carrigg time to figure out where he was going to display the room-temperature alcohol, the applicant did not want to wait any longer.
The Board of Selectmen unanimously approved the license with the condition that if the applicant wants to utilize anything other than the 135 square feet designated on the map, he can file for an amendment to his license.