Bridgewater mulls alcohol sales
Stay dry? Go wet? Views on selling alcohol are divided in Bridgewater, Connecticut's last dry town.
When two requests to open restaurants that serve beer and wine or alcohol came before town officials in recent months, the officials decided to ask residents.
Should Bridgewater stay dry, with no alcohol allowed to be sold in town, go semi-dry with alcohol allowed to be served in restaurants, or join the rest of the state and allow alcohol sales in both restaurants and stores?
Following a town meeting on the issue on Friday, which drew about 100 residents, the Board of Selectmen agreed to put the question to a referendum.
"A show of hands was asked for on whether people wanted the question to go before a town meeting or referendum," newly elected first selectman Curtis Read said of a meeting on Friday. "Most hands went up for a referendum."
The board is now studying model ordinances and have not yet set a date for the vote.
The next step, he said, will be for the Board of Selectmen to draft some model ordinances for consideration. No referendum date has yet been set.
Bill Holland has requested an ordinance change so alcohol could be sold at an upscale restaurant interested in leasing space in his building at the intersection of routes 133 and 67.
Greg Bollard represents Maywood and Bridgewater Village Store owners Peter and Lian May.
"The Mays are responding to survey responses in which many residents said they would like to be able to have wine or beer with their meals at a restaurant there," Bollard said. "We don't want to invest in expanding our present space unless there is resident support."
Resident Mark Boccuzzi is in favor of opening the town up to alcohol sales in restaurants only.
"I think most of the people at the meeting last week, at least the one's I spoke with, had the same feeling," Boccuzzi said Monday. "It would obviously help the center of town. My wife and I would like to have a nice restaurant where you could have a drink with your meal."
Victor Compe and his wife, Samantha Moore, however, are opposed to any change. He is a retired paramedic and she is a retired police officer. Both say they have seen the fatal results of drinking and driving too many times.
"People don't realize what their tolerances are and when they've crossed that line," Compe said. "My wife and I have seen the serious ramifications of drinking. There's no reason to take any steps to promote them happening here."