BERLIN — As the Mayor and Council, the merchants and the residents begin to get a feel for the implications of the new process for suspension of the open container rules, all parties have begun to make adjustments to their operations in response to what is working and to what is not going according to plan. At this week’s Town Council meeting, the issue of the proper kind of fencing came to the fore as Globe owner Jennifer Dawicki asked the Town for a letter of support.
The Worcester County Board of Liquor Control (BLC) has the power to allow the Globe to serve “off-premise” during street closures in front of their establishment. Dawicki applied for permission for the two upcoming street party events — May Day Play Day and the Berlin Jazz and Blues Bash. The BLC often prefers the Town provide a letter of support for the request.
In an effort to improve both oversight and public safety, both the town and the BLC suggested surrounding the bar with a fence rather than the entire area, as was done for New Year’s Eve.
It was also suggested that rather than use the orange construction fencing as had been done in the past, a more secure fence be used to prevent people bending it down and stepping out.
Although Dawicki offered to purchase and install a proper vinyl fence, Town Administrator Tony Carson suggested that the Council approve its purchase and installation.
He reasoned that since the Globe wasn’t the only place this type of fence would be useful or required it would be in the Town’s best interest to be responsible for its purchase and storage.
Under questioning from the Council, Public Works Director Mike Gibbons said that, beyond the $700 investment, very little extra would be required in the way of staff time or energy.
“It’s probably going to take less time than what we spent on that orange fence,” he said.
Dawicki explained to the Council that she was already working with the BLC to make sure she was meeting the proper standards and wanted to keep the Town informed about the process to prevent any miscommunication or confusion over the matter.
“This is just what we like to happen,” Mayor Gee Williams said about working with the BLC. “That way we’re all running together.”
Although she was in support of the letter, and indeed made the motion to approve it, Councilwoman Paula Lynch expressed her concern about how close together the two events were when it came to suspending the open container rules.
“I don’t think we need two booze-selling events in the Town of Berlin in six days,” Lynch said. She suggested next year they should be further apart although she clarified that she was in no way suggesting the change be applied this year.
Berlin Director of Community and Economic Development Michael Day pointed out that the radio station “Ocean 98” scheduled the May Day Play Day event and that it was beyond the Town’s control.
He also reminded the Council that, while the Globe was required to make these appeals each time there is an open container event, the Atlantic Hotel was not and would be serving from two outdoor bars whether or not the Council supported the Globe’s or any other business’ request.
In other business the Council heard from Lower Shore Land Trust Director Kate Patton about that group’s initiative with Grow Berlin Green to establish and promote bike trails around Berlin.
The Mayor and Council approved the group’s work on a Berlin Master Trail Plan and Patton said they expect to have it completed for initial presentation in late May.