October 8 2014

Selectmen Discuss Possible Change to Liquor Laws

By: Rich Hosford

The Burlington Board of Selectmen took up a discussion on possibly changing the mandatory closing time for liquor stores on Sunday evening during the meeting Monday night. 


Town Administrator John Petrin said that currently the town requires all liquor stores to close at 6 p.m. on Sundays. A state law that required liquor stores to be closed on Sundays was changed in 2003. 


The discussion was prompted by a request by Wegmans Food Markets, which is set to open a store on 3rd Avenue on October 26. Wegmans grocery stores include the sale of beer and wine with their other offerings and the store would like to be able to keep the alcohol section open later on Sundays. 


Attorney Joseph Devlin, representing Wegmans, said the weekend is a busy time for shoppers. 


Saturdays and Sundays are big shopping days for supermarkets,” he said. “If Wegmans has to stop selling beer and wine at 6 p.m. customers suddenly won’t have access to the whole experience. The food is meant to be paired with wines, it’s part of the Wegmans concept.” 


If the board does change the town law, it won’t only affect Wegmans, Petrin said. All liquor stores would be able to remain open until the new required closing time. 


Selectman Michael Runyan said allowing a later closing time might have an undesired affect on the other liquor stores in town. 


“The other stores are mostly small family-run stores,” he said. “They probably don’t want to be there that late but they may feel compelled to stay open to compete with Wegmans. I’d want to hear from other stores first.” 


“Some of the local families might not want this to change,” agreed Bob Hogan, chair of the board. 


Selectman Daniel Grattan said that since the current policy had not been changed in roughly a decade he thought it was worth looking into it. 


The board members will take a look at the policy and discuss the proposal further at a later date. 


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