BYOB Discussion Continued

February 20th 2019
BYOB Update: On this week's agenda of the License Commission, once again, is a continued discussion of the proposed BYOB regulations.
Wednesday February 20th, 6pm at Fitchburg Fire Station Downstairs Community Room, 33 North St.

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Live Streaming of the 1.7.2019 License Commission Meeting


Some businesses that could be affected by proposed regulations that allow patrons to bring their own alcoholic beverages to drink on site are looking for answers at the Board of License Commissioner's next meeting, (Monday January the at 6pm at the Fitchburg Fire Dept downstairs mtg room, 33 North St. Open to the Public.)

"We would like information," said Stacey Sparrow, owner of Art on the Rocks studio at Parkhill Plaza. "We really have not been informed on the subject."
She said the proposed rules could close the business or cause it to relocate outside of Fitchburg.

Sparrow plans to come to a Monday meeting with questions for the commission, like what its members think about concerns from businesses and when regulations could go into effect.

The commission drafted an ordinance that would require businesses to obtain a $100 license for BYOB and set limits, including what type of establishments are eligible for a permit, when the practice would be allowed, type of alcohol, and size of drinks people can bring.

Only businesses with on-premise dining with table service and a wait staff that don't have an alcohol license would be eligible for a BYOB license under the regulations.

They would also require licensees to have liquor liability insurance and all employees of the licensed establishment to receive safe alcohol service training.

Live streaming video of October 15th,2018 License Commission Meeting BYOB regulation discussion

Proposed Fitchburg BYOB Regulations compared to Boston’s current BYOB Regulations.

Oct 11, 2018: Police Related BYOB incidents in Fitchburg:
I submitted to the Fitchburg Police Dept a Public Records Request for the amount of incidents related to Alcohol in the past 10 years for BYOB establishments....and then all Alcohol related incidents for Bar/Restaurants with a pouring license. Here are the results for BYOB.
10 years...the amount of incidents related to BYOB establishments...2.
The amount of incidents at Pouring Establishments....445.

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Update from November 7th, 2018 Continued License Commission BYOB Discussion

I attended this evening's 11/7/18 License Commission meeting to be able to report the discussion on BYOB regulations after the public hearing was held a few weeks ago. I'll report random views and statements from Commissioners here.
📒Daniel Sarefield: "We've received some comments from the public, I wouldn't call them statistically significant, since only 20 people came...but they were a representative sample of certain individuals..."
"Many of the people that spoke were concerned about BYOB businesses that had a common victaullers license, that's an issue that is certainly up for discussion. In addition to that, the timeframe we had specified (5-11pm) and the amount of alcohol (64oz) and the types of alcohol (wine & beer only) were issues that were indicated to us in various communications" "The fee also is something we needs to pare down" 
They are also waiting on the City Solicitor for the suggestion on the required liquor liability.
📒 Donna Pawlak: She started by noting that she thinks most people thought the license fee was a fundraising measure...and she believes is not the case. She noted that while most people were supportive of the BYOB--that 2 people, that owned licensed pouring establishments, that refused to speak publicly because they were planning to speak against---but were 'overwhelmed with everything that was taking place", and wished to remain anonymous with Pawlak., spoke about how unfair it was that they had to pay for liability "it's a huge cost to them, and a huge cost to make sure their staff is TIPS certified...and they thought it was unfair that BYOB establishments didn't have to do any of that." She then notes that the police report showing 2 incidents in 10 years at 6 locations did not include 'the motorcycle place on Ashby state rd' or 'Saima park', "so i would agree with the chief that we need to have a list of places that are doing it, because we aren't even tracking those if someone leaves Saima those places should be added to the city of fitchburg statistics.." she then notes a former city employee telling her they do BYOB at Cleghorn House of Pizza....but she's not certain of that. So if someone leaves one is thinking to stop them..."
📒Daniel Sarefield: "At face value, the info the Capt was able to gather indicated that there had been TWO instances (in 10 years for 6 establishments) at a BYOB can't say nothings ever happened anywhere--that's simply false. The fact that we are not collecting info, and we are not regulating this in some way, I think there is a cause for us to be concerned about it, it's our obligation to address this and i think there are things that were conveyed at the meeting that were totally legitimate, we can make accommodations based on what we heard that make it possible for some of those business to continue to practice BYOB as long as it is done so in a legal manner--I think if we do nothing we continute to have the same problem that we have--that we don't know where this is happening, the police don't know where this is happening, and so if there are problems its going to take us that much longer to figure out where and what they are and that is a is our obligation and we cannot ignore it." 
🥂Daniel Sarefield: "I know that many of the folks who talked about the TIPS certification and how much it was going to cost them---frankly I'm not convinced by that-- the rest of these businesses that have to have certification, they pass that expense onto their employees---businesses don't pay for that, employees pay for that themselves, that's not a burden on them, if they need to be TIPS certified, they'll make their employees pay for that...and so the ONLY cost that is going to be involved here would be whatever amount would be necessary to process the info at the city clerks office and liability insurance which would protect them and the city if something went wrong"
--BYOB discussion to be continued to 1st meeting in January 2019.

10.15.18- Businesses to license board: Put a lid on BYOB proposal in Fitchburg

Residents and business owners packed a public hearing of the License Commission Monday to decry a draft policy to regulate "bring your own bottle" service in the city.

"BYOB is our bread and butter, it's how I pay my mortgage, and it's how I feed my children," said Stacey Sparrow, owner of Art on the Rocks, a business where patrons can bring their own alcohol beverages while taking art classes in groups.

Sparrow was one of over 20 people who said they oppose a draft policy released by the License Commission pertaining to BYOB.

Under the terms of the draft regulations, only restaurants that offer table service would be permitted to allow BYOB.

Currently, the city is home to at least six BYOB businesses, including some that do not serve meals like Putnam Street Lanes bowling alley and Sparrow's Art on the Rocks.

Sparrow told commissioners the proposed requirement to limit the practice of BYOB to restaurants with table service would put them out of business, as Art on the Rock's location in Parkhill Plaza doesn't have a commercial kitchen.

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