Aquinnah selectmen approve one-day liquor license

Makers Table allowed to serve at upcoming event.

From left, Jeffrey Madison, Aquinnah town administrator, Gary Haley and Julianne Vanderhoop, Aquinnah selectmen, discuss the issuance of their first one-day alcohol license at Tuesday's meeting. — Lucas Thors

The Aquinnah board of selectmen issued their first ever one-day liquor license to the Makers Table at Tuesday’s meeting, enabling them to serve alcohol at their July 17 dinner at the Aquinnah Cultural Center.

Town administrator Jeffrey Madison said to his knowledge, no such license had ever been submitted to the selectmen for approval. He said that after receiving this request, he began to draft guidelines regarding how liquor licenses are approved, and specifics on how that business must conduct its operations while serving intoxicating beverages.

“We have never had a request, to my knowledge, or that I’ve been able to find in records of the selectmen, for an issuance of a one-day liquor license,” said Madison. “This is a first time for us.”

Madison said he has been in the process of drafting regulations around the issuing of short-term beer and wine licenses. Since there are no previous accounts of any issuance of a one-day liquor license, Madison said he had to start largely from scratch.

“We need to get our house in order regarding these issues,” said Madison. “This has never been brought up before.”

Madison suggested that lines need to be drawn around what defines a victualler’s license and the differences between certain alcohol permits. He said one issue is that the town of Aquinnah has no bylaws regarding beer and wine permits, and any statutes surrounding the issue are “somewhat vague.”

He said that a common yearly renewal of a victualler’s license is issued by the board of health, while a permit to serve malt beverages and wine is strictly a selectmen’s decision.

Selectman Julianne Vanderhoop said the board should look at this as a local permitting issue for a small gathering such as a wedding.

Spring Sheldon, a chef and organizer for the Makers Table, told the selectmen about her plans for the event, and that alcohol is secondary to the food and the experience.

“Things are served with dinner,” said Sheldon. “It’s not like open bar, open season. It’s not the focus of what we are doing.”

Madison responded by saying he has been very busy and hasn’t had the time to finalize the list of regulations regarding a one-day liquor license.

“If the selectmen find that it’s appropriate to issue the one-day license, I can do what is necessary to get it out,” said Madison.

In other business, the board met with Vernon Welch regarding his business certificate for Alfred’s Bait Shack. The selectmen did not make mention of the Aquinnah lot or improvements proposed by Welch at the prior meeting. Welch came to the meeting to clarify specific requirements of having the permit, although it had already been renewed at the beginning of the year. “I just wanted to make sure I have all the right things to have this permit,” said Welch. “Is that all that you people request?”

Since Welch already had the permit approved, there was nothing more the selectmen could do, Madison said. “As I have said before, there’s nothing you need from here, we’re good,” he told Welch.

The selectmen also appointed Sam Hart as the Aquinnah representative for the MVRHS facilities committee, based on a letter of intent to serve sent to the board by Hart.

Elise LeBovit was set to be reappointed to the Lighthouse Board, but when asked at the meeting if she could confirm her willingness to be reappointed, she told selectmen she is considering resigning because there is nothing more for her to do.

LeBovit suggested forming a subcommittee around an aspect of the lighthouse such as fundraising or the Gay Head 10k, which she would personally head. She said she is used to working as an administrator for the lighthouse, writing press releases and organizing events. Now that the town is in charge of most lighthouse proceedings, she said, her talents would be wasted if she were to continue serving on the board.

She said she thought there would be more of a need for overseeing certain operations, and was upset to learn that her skills would not be utilized.

She directed a final comment to the board: “So I guess you’re not going to say if there is anything for me to do or not.”

Vanderhoop said that if the selectmen were to entertain forming a subcommittee, it would not be done at that meeting.