James T. Higgins, At Large
Manuel N. DaCosta District 1
Charles D. Wilk, District 4
E Craig Dwyer, District 2
Mia A. Ackerman, District 5
Board of Licensing, Vice-Chair
Council President, Pro-Tem
Peter J. Bradley, District 3
Bruce A. Lemois, At-Large
Board of Licensing Chair
MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING
OF THE CUMBERLAND BOARD OF LICENSE COMMISSIONERS
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2012 AT 7:30 P.M.
CUMBERLAND TOWN HALL-EVERETT “MOE” BONNER, JR. COUNCIL CHAMBERS
45 BROAD STREET, CUMBERLAND
Chairman Lemois, Commissioners Higgins, Wilk, Dwyer, DaCosta, and Bradley
A. Acceptance of Minutes of the Regular Meeting of August 15, 2012
Chairman Lemois passed out amended Minutes, which changed the call to order time.
MOTION BY COMMISSIONER HIGGINS, SECONDED BY COMMISSIONER DWYER AND IT IS UNANIMOUSLY VOTED TO APPROVE AS AMENDED. VOTE 6/0.
Public hearing was opened at 7:36 p.m.
Chief Desmarais informed that on August 2, 2012, at 6:20 p.m. the police responded to the Broad Street Tap for a disturbance inside the bar between a male and female. Upon arriving, Officer Bell met a patron inside the bar who had redness to the left side of his face and who stated that he had been punched about four times by an intoxicated female inside the bar. The bartender, who also witnessed the assault, refused to give the female any more drinks and stated that she had only had two drinks there, and then she left the building. The male who had been assaulted stated to the officers that he did not want to press charges. The officers then went outside and found the intoxicated female in her car attempting to leave. Officers tried to stop her and make arrangements to have her taken home; she reached into her pocketbook and took out an OC pepper spray canister, which Officer Robinson stopped her from using. She was forced out of the vehicle and wrestled to the ground, and she was then taken to the police station, where she was charged with two counts of assaulting a police officer and disorderly conduct. A rescue was called to the station for an evaluation of this female.
Chairman Lemois asked how the Police Department got involved in this incident.
Chief Desmarais responded that they received a 911 call from a female stating that there was a problem inside the bar. There are unsure whether it was an employee that called.
Steven Seagraves, of 1553 Victory Highway, North Smithfield, the owner of the business, spoke on behalf of Broad Street Tap. He was not in attendance during the incident; he received an account from his bartender. He stated that he agreed with the description of the incident but stated that there is additional information that should be known. He informed that the female in question is from Cranston and was not known by them. She showed up at the bar at 3:00 p.m. that day and had one drink. She then left with another patron to get a tattoo down the street, and returned at 5:30 p.m. She was fine and was served another drink. She needed to get something in her car, and she asked the bartender to watch her drink. When she came back in, she sat down and was argumentative with another patron, and that led to this incident. She was asked to leave the building, which she refused to do, so the bartender called 911. In the meantime, the female left; the bartender would not give her back her keys because of the shape she appeared to suddenly be in. One of the officers stated in the report that he suspected she had taken some drugs when she went out to her car. He felt the bartender did the right thing; he had no other defense.
Chairman Lemois noted that it was questioned whether or not to bring the business in tonight, but because there were officers called to a liquor establishment, it was decided to call them in. He noted that the business did everything right in this case; the bartender took the right action in calling the police. This is exactly what the Board has been telling the license holders to do—not to take things into their own hands, not to make judgment as to whether the situation is cleared or not—call the police and let them handle the situation.
Commissioner Wilk asked how long Mr. Seagraves had owned the business.
Mr. Seagraves responded that he has owned it for approximately five years.
Commissioner Wilk asked if there had been any other problems during those five years.
Mr. Seagraves responded that there had been one incident he had come to a hearing about, but he was unsure when it had occurred; he thought it was over a year ago, and that was a much more serious situation.
When asked for his recommendation, Chief Desmarais responded that he would let the Board decide what to do. It is his policy that if something does happen in a liquor establishment in Cumberland, the Board will be informed of it, especially when it involves any type of assault of a patron.
Commissioner Wilk asked what the normal sanctions would be when members of the police force are assaulted in an incident.
The Police Chief responded that he looks at the totality of the circumstances. He realized that the owner of the establishment did the right thing in this case, as did his officers by not letting her drive away. As a result, he believed that a written or verbal warning would be sufficient and put the business under review.
Commissioner Higgins made a motion to not find a violation of the local rules and regulations.
Commissioner Wilk asked if that motion could be amended to include a notation in the file that if a similar event happens again, there will be severe consequences taken against the license holder.
Chairman Lemois noted that if another event happened, it could not be determined tonight what action the Board would take in the future.
Commissioner Higgins explained that the point of his motion was to not punish the license holders because they did the right thing in calling the police, and the Chief has indicated that they did the right thing. It is good to bring them in to make the Board aware of what is happening, and to find out whether the owners of the establishments are doing the right thing.
Solicitor Hefner stated that all the notices are citing the correct statute, 3-5-23; however, the Agenda cites 3-8-5, so he asked that that be amended.
Commissioner Wilk asked if a file is kept on each establishment when an incident occurs.
Solicitor Hefner responded that a file is kept at the Police Department as well as by the Town Clerk.
Chairman Lemois noted that it is also on record by the minutes of the meeting.
MOTION BY COMMISSIONER HIGGINS, SECONDED BY COMMISSIONER DACOSTA AND IT IS UNANIMOUSLY VOTED TO AMEND THE AGENDA. VOTE 6/0.
MOTION BY COMMISSIONER HIGGINS, SECONDED BY COMMISSIONER DWYER AND IT IS UNANIMOUSLY VOTED TO NOT FIND A VIOLATION OF THE LOCAL RULES AND REGULATIONS. VOTE 6/0.
1. Carelos’s LLC d/b/a Carelo’s Pizzeria located at 235 Broad Street
2. Churrascaria Marques LLC d/b/a Churrascaria Marques located at 88 Broad Street
3. JL Bruno Enterprises d/b/a Forno Pizzeria located at 2000 Mendon Road-Unit 10
4. Pitchers Tavern located at 80 Manville Hill Road
Chairman Lemois explained that four applicants had applied for an available license, and by the rules and regulations they are required to give a presentation and the Commissioners would vote as to whether they meet the criteria to be put into the lottery; once done, all those approved would be put in, and the winner would be drawn. He noted that this had been advertised correctly in the paper.
Public hearing was opened at 7:49 p.m.
Chairman Lemois noted that an error was made in the mailings to the abutters; rather than waste the advertising and re-advertise the matter, he believed the Board open the public hearing and then table it to a particular time so that the abutters could be notified of the correct time and date, and the lottery could be held on that date.
Solicitor Hefner informed that it should be continued to a date certain so that anyone that should have been present tonight will known the correct date.
The Town Clerk informed that the letters to be sent out would set a date of September 19th.
Commissioner Wilk asked if it was required under the charter that those applying for the license must already hold some type of liquor license within the Town.
Solicitor Hefner responded that there is no requirement that you have to be a license holder; you can be a person without a license as long as you have a location that you will be running the business out of.
Commissioner Wilk noted that Pitcher’s had applied.
Chairman Lemois noted that that was not the Pitcher’s Pub that was currently in bankruptcy—this is Pitcher’s Tavern, which is a completely new business. He noted that the license available was previously held by The Dancing Pig.
Commissioner Wilk confirmed with Solicitor Hefner that it was not necessary to hold a bear and wine license in order to apply for this lottery. He noted that this was a requirement the last time a lottery was held.
Commissioner Higgins stated that he did not think that the breakfast place had a BVL license at that time, and they were the ones that ended up with the license.
Commissioner Wilk stated that they did have a license.
Chairman Lemois stated that regardless of past practice, currently there is no such requirement.
Commissioner Higgins asked for confirmation that the Board must determine that all applicants are qualified.
Solicitor Hefner confirmed this, and stated that another option would be to hold onto this license at this time if the Board felt that there are currently too many liquor licenses out.
MOTION BY COMMISSIONER HIGGINS, SECONDED BY COMMISSIONER DWYER AND IT IS UNANIMOUSLY VOTED TO TABLE THIS HEARING TO SEPTEMBER 19, 2012. VOTE 6/0.
MOTION BY COMMISSIONER DWYER, SECONDED BY THE BOARD AND IT IS UNANIMOUSLY VOTED TO ADJOURN AT 7:50P.M. VOTE 6/0.