Following the recent approval to sell beer and wine at High Street Market and Roche Bros., the Westwood Board of Selectmen on Monday chose to continue a hearing regarding the sale of wine at Lambert's Rainbow Fruit.
The store, located on Providence Highway in Westwood, is looking to sell wine only, and applied for the license in the hopes of ensuring convenience for customers, store representatives said Monday night.
"We're looking to compliment what we already do," Anthony Lambert, one of the principles at Lambert's, said during Monday night's selectmen meeting. "We're not looking for people whoa re going to [New England] Patriots games, we're just looking for the people that are customers existing to get wine at the store."
But concern from the board on how managers would enforce proper sales prompted members to hold their approval, saying they wished to see a more developed plan on how store managers would enforce employees who are 21 and older being the only ones to sell alcohol.
Moreover, managers need to explain in more detail who still needs to receive Training and Intervention Procedures for Servers of alcohol (T.I.P.S.). certification, board members said.
"I'm just not comfortable at this point approving this license with this in-between scenario," Selectmen Clerk Nancy Hyde said.
About 30 people are employeed at the store, with four of them being TIPS certified, according to store managers.
"One of us is always on the property or in the building," added Bradford Jewson, the proposed alcohol manager for Lambert's.
In March, officials approved a license for High Street Market to sell both beer and wine, and did the like in early April for Roche Bros.
At Lambert's, the wine would take up less thane 1 percent of floor space, which would be located above the vegetable display in the store, according to Edward Richardson, Counsel for 5L’s Inc., who represented Lambert's. The store, additionally, would not sell wine on Sundays in accordance with Westwood's alcohol license laws.
No schools or churches are located within 500 feet of the premises, save for the private entity Knowledge Beginnings, which was notified of the store's intent, said Louise Rossi, Westwood's Alcohol Licensing Coordinator. Lambert's managers have also received preliminary check-offs from Westwood's fire, building and health departments.
Some customers, though, were not as enthusiastic about the move. Several individuals who reside in close proximity to the store spoke out against more alcohol sales in town.
"It's a negative impact on the surrounding communities," said resident Donna Folsom. "Lamberts' proximity makes it easy for people to swing in, pick up and for them to hope on Rte. 128 or continue down Rte. 1. It increases the chances of driving while intoxicated."
She added, "It also has a negative impact on our neighborhood. The land behind Lambert's has often been the scene of teenage drinking parties. There are beer bottles, wine bottles, broken cups. Having liquor sold at Lambert's will just make it extremely easy for teenage drinking."
Other residents voiced concern about the sale of wine only being an initial step, and said they wondered if Lambert's would then take it a step further with beer sales down the road.
If store managers did choose to sell beer in the future, however, they would need to modify their liquor license and seek further approval from the Westwood Board of Selectmen.
The hearing will resume at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, May 14 in the Selectmen's Meeting Room at Westwood Town Hall.