Could the fate of the Roxbury rail station could hinge on alcohol sale?
Bridgewater may be the last dry town in the state, but its next-door neighbor, Roxbury, has similar leanings.
In Roxbury, beer is allowed to be sold at Roxbury Market and Delicatessen, a right voters gave the store in the 1970s.
Alcohol can also be served at non-profit groups' fundraisers three times in a given year, a decision voters made three years ago.
Further alcohol sales are not allowed in the community -- and this reportedly has been a sticking point in the sale of an historic property in the town, Roxbury Station.
First Selectman Barbara Henry is concerned the 2.7-acre property, featuring its station from the Shepaug Railroad days, tobacco processing barn, house and other outbuildings, will deteriorate if the property is not bought and preserved.
"Over the years, people have come to town and wanted to buy the station and sell alcohol there," Ms. Henry said Thursday. "The question keeps coming up about alcohol sales in the town being expanded and the selectmen have decided to take the question to the people."
No specific referendum date has been set at this time. Yet Ms. Henry wants residents of the town to consider the question and be aware it may come up on a referendum in the near future.
"I don't want a specific buyer to come to town and ask again to have the law changed," she said. "I don't want this to be a change made for a specific sale. If we change it now, the change will be on the books when and if a buyer comes forward."
The property on Mine Hill Road is owned by Thomas and Linda Chapman of Woodbury. It is listed with Joyce Drakeley Realty at a new asking price of $499,900. Records show, the property with its waterfall was first listed for sale in 2004 for $2.2 million.
Realtor Bonnie Bevans of Kent handled the property for some time. She said Thursday "I've had a couple of different interested parties over the years and 95 percent of them wanted to put a restaurant on the property and sell alcohol there. Once I researched the possibility of a spirit shop going in there for a potential buyer."
Ms. Bevans said Thursday she has another potential buyer at this time for the property.
Since that client is now in negotiations with the Chapmans, she could not talk about specifics of what his plans would be for the site. She did say he "has an idea of possibly putting in a small restaurant" but would not say if his ability to sell alcohol there would effect the sale.