Beer and Wine license approved for State Road

Wet Tisbury's State Road Restaurant — File photo by Bob Gothard

In an historic vote the West Tisbury selectmen unanimously agreed on Wednesday May 9, to award the town’s first license to sell beer and wine to State Road Restaurant. Restaurant owners Mary and Jackson Kenworth had been at the forefront of the effort to change town regulations.

The license request must now go to the State Alcohol Beverages Control Commission for approval.

Selectmen asked Ms. Kenworth to clarify the restaurant’s schedule going forward. She said that they expected to close for the month of March for repairs, open June through October seven days a week, and offer a staggered schedule the rest of the year.

Following the quick approval of the town’s first beer and wine license, selectmen voted to limit the town’s participation in funding improvements to the shared parking lot between the Howes House and the library to 33 percent of the increase in costs over the budgeted amount in the library renovation plan. Selectmen Jeffery “Skipper” Manter and Cindy Mitchell voted for the limit. Richard Knabel voted against the motion.

An article on the upcoming special town meeting warrant for June 5 will ask the town to appropriate up to $50,000, 33 percent of the additional cost for the project

Leah Smith, library building committee chairman, presented three alternatives to the budgeted all-asphalt surface, which may not be acceptable because of covenants in the land-transfer agreement made when the property was donated to the town by Gladys Jones in 1976. The agreement does not allow for “extensive blacktop,” according to library director Beth Kramer.

The alternatives are a porous asphalt, which Ms. Smith said is not a reasonable choice because the sandy nature of the Island would require too much maintenance to allow water to drain; interlocking concrete pavers; and a combination of pavers and asphalt. The additional cost could be as much as $150,000, according to Ms. Smith.

The selectmen were reluctant to take on additional spending related to the library project. Selectman Manter pointed out he keeps seeing “$1.5 million dollars” as the amount that would be requested from the town by the library. He expressed concern that they were asking for more money before the project had even broken ground. Chairman of the board of selectmen Cynthia Mitchell said the selectmen will meet with the Jones family to determine what paving options the town has.

Nine other articles were approved for the special town meeting by unanimous votes. Seven of the articles relate to issues involving dogs. One article amends the dog bylaw to require dogs be leashed at all times when on any property other than the dog owner’s where the dog must be restrained, prohibits leaving dog droppings anywhere but on the owner’s property, and sets fines for both of $50 for the first offense, $100 for the second, and $250 for the third.

The selectmen approved a spending article to pay for an assistant animal control officer for Lambert’s Cove Beach and one additional parking lot attendant to uphold the new bylaw passed at the annual town meeting in April which allows dogs on the beach between 7 and 10 am.

Another warrant article to be approved was to pay one third of the up-Island portion of a new tri-town ambulance quality coordinator position, $8,333.

Wine and beer

The new beer and wine regulations allow for the sale of beer and wine in restaurants with a seating capacity of 50 or more people, as long as they are served with a meal. The rules also allow selectmen to issue one-day beer and wine licenses for fundraising events, provided the service of such beverages is considered incidental.

Only State Road Restaurant, the Lambert’s Cove Inn, and the Plane View Restaurant at the Martha’s Vineyard Airport currently qualify as to seating capacity. For a town of West Tisbury’s size, the state Alcohol Beverage Control Commission (ABCC) will allow a maximum of five beer and wine licenses.

The new regulations were modeled after those in Tisbury and Aquinnah, two towns that also recently voted to allow beer and wine sales in restaurants. They will allow restaurants in town to serve beer and wine from 11 am to 11 pm (midnight on New Year’s Eve).

All drinks and glasses must be cleared from the tables by 11:30 pm. The regulations provide that the service of beer and wine “shall be secondary to the primary purpose of service of food. Snack foods such as chips, pretzels and the like shall not be considered a meal.”

The regulations require that all beer and wine beverages must be delivered to a table by a waiter, and only one alcoholic beverage can be served at a time. The regulations require a public application hearing before the selectmen, and the license holders will be subject to regular inspections by the police.

Application processing fees are $200, and restaurant license fees are $350 annually. The fee for a one-day beer and wine license for fundraisers is $25.