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Fruitlands’ amended license upheld despite neighbors’ appeal

PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

HARVARD — Residents whose properties abut Fruitlands Museum on Prospect Hill Road sent a letter of appeal to the selectmen, asking them to reconsider amended conditions attached to the museum’s entertainment license.

Town Administrator Tim Bragan said the three residents, Rhonda and Whit Sprague and Karen Green, were not appealing the license itself, but rather amendments to the conditions, objecting to changes the selectmen agreed to at an April 6 public hearing.

Fruitlands’ request to amend some of the entertainment license conditions triggered the public hearing process. The newest request was for the board to reconsider the changes for reasons cited in the letter, Bragan said, some of which came up at the hearing.

The residents’ objected to the amended conditions based on their view of the impact on their neighborhood. Items listed in the letter as a basis for there appeal were:

— Lack of a traffic study before allowing the number of concerts to be increased from 10 to 15 per year.

— No town policy for noise.

— Expansion of the outdoor use area for consumption of alcoholic beverages.

— No ruling on a carry-in liquor or BYOB policy.

— Lack of discussion about appropriate concert size and scope.

The BYOB issue has since been addressed. The selectmen have adopted a policy that in order to allow customers to bring their own liquor to a restaurant or other venue that holds a “common victualer” license, they must get a permit from the selectmen, whether the business has a liquor license or not. That seeming contradiction may apply only to Fruitlands, which has a liquor license for its restaurant and tent with a service area that now extends to a defined perimeter outdoors.

When there are concerts, however, people may bring their own drinks for consumption outside that designated line, but only if Fruitlands applies for an additional permit. CEO Tim Firment said the museum has not done so.

Absent a policy, the law allows restaurant owners that don’t serve alcohol to decide for themselves if patrons can bring their own, Bragan said.

After a couple of quick questions directed to Firment, the board summarily dismissed the neighbor’s other complaints and did not consider the appeal. Procedurally, the motion was made to do so but was not seconded and therefore did not carry.

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