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Common Ground to serve 3-day alcohol-license suspension by Feb. 29

Common Ground Bar & Grill must serve by Feb. 29 a three-day suspension of its liquor license following the death of a patron more than a year ago.

Board of Selectmen logo, Jan. 23, 2013

Selectmen on Monday, Jan. 25, voted as they had in December, 4-1, to support the report of the case from Town Counsel Douglas Heim. 

Last month, Selectman Diane Mahon had asked for a five-day suspension and again was the lone "no" vote.

Chairman Kevin Greeley reiterated that this punishment of an establishment serving alcohol is the most severe issued in his 27 years on the board.

Heim's memo says the three-day suspension must be served on consecutive days starting on a Wednesday after Jan. 25 and completed before the end of February. An added 14-day suspension will be held in abeyance for one year.

Mahon told the board why she would again cast a "no" vote: "I did not think the owner (Bob O'Guin] took the matter seriously as he should.

Citing restaurant experience in her family, she said she doubted that 70 percent of the business came from alcohol sales, as O'Guin had said.

The decision about the Broadway Plaza pub followed a one-hour hearing in December to consider what occurred last New Year's Eve before the death of James McLaughlin, 50, in a car accident.

"We are grieved by this -- it's a death," Selectman Joseph Curro said in December.

Heim said the decision will be reported to the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.

Ice cream in East Arlington

In other business, the board took these actions or learned the following:

-- Voted, 5-0, on Special Town Meeting articles 7 and 8, both about Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical School.

On Article 8, the revised agreement, Greeley said fellow selectman, Dan Dunn, pursued the issue like "a dog on a sock .... There is no way to thank you enough." Later, at the end of Town Meeting, Finance Committee Chair Alan Tosti praised Dunn and Charles Foskett, among others, and meeting members applauded.

-- Approved, 5-0, a request for a common victualler license for the Scoop N Scootery, at 112 Mass. Ave., near Magnolia, in East Arlington.

Owner Austin Crittenden told the board he has been operating an ice cream truck in Somerville and decided to add a storefront to his business.

He said the store would be open until 2 a.m. except Monday and that he expects to serve delivery trucks at that hour. He added he would respect neighbors' quiet.

-- Discussed briefly and approved, 5-0, the Selectmen's Draft Handbook, a project that has taken about a year.

-- Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine introduced the board to Jennifer Raitt, the new director of planning and community development, who is start Feb. 16 but is already working with the staff.

Selectman Steve Byrne, a legislative aide on Beacon Hill, said he had met Raitt just that morning, when he attended his first meeting of the Metropolitan Planning Council, where she serves as the assistant director of land-use planning and the chief housing planner.

Find out more about her here >>

Dec. 9, 2015: 3-day liquor-license suspension for Common Ground following fatality

Oct. 3, 2014: Common Ground at night, Oct. 3, 2014

This report was published Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016. 

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