BERLIN — The Globe may be able to serve alcohol at an outside bar during this New Year’s Eve celebration if all goes well with the liquor board. And if all goes well on New Year’s Eve, the event might eventually gain traction as a legitimate street fair.
Against the wishes of Councilman Dean Burrell and Councilwoman Paula Lynch, the council endorsed Jennifer Dawicki’s proposal to seek a special license from the liquor board to serve from a bar at the intersection of Broad and Gay Streets during the New Year’s Eve festivities.
As conceived by Dawicki, the area would be fenced off, similar to the way proposed for this month’s Oktoberfest with a separate entrance and exit staffed by people checking IDs.
Lynch, while strongly endorsing Dawicki and her establishment as reliable, said she worried the request would open the floodgates for the acceptance of alcohol on town property. Wondering what would happen when Goobers decided to seek the same exemption or any of the other proposed restaurants coming to town, she also worried that eventually even the Taylor House Museum might want to allow weddings at the place to have alcohol.
Councilman Troy Purnell’s concerns were the exact opposite. He said he would endorse a plan that gated the entire main street section and allowed alcohol openly during special events. As it stands there is no real enforcement of alcohol on the streets during festivals. Although technically against the rules, plenty of people had alcohol on the streets during both the Berlin Jazz and Blues Festival and the Fiddlers Convention without incident.
Dawicki said that while she would have no problem making that request, she believed as a first-time trial, it was best to start small.
“I thought it best to come [to this hearing] as structured as possible,” Dawicki said.
Mayor Gee Williams agreed that Dawicki should leave her proposal as is and let the town expand upon the event, if it chooses to, in the future. He gently dismissed the concern that the presence of alcohol would automatically end in hooliganism.
“For someone who is a little ‘hell raiser’ Berlin holds no attraction,” he said.
In other business, the town took a step back on what has become a saga regarding property upkeep. During the first reading of an ordinance directed at keeping lawns and other shrubbery better maintained, the council accepted the testimony — both in person and via e-mails — of residents who wanted the maximum height raised above six inches.
A new rule would have made six the magic number for fining properties as unkempt but the council relented and upped it to eight inches.
Many attendees offered what the council accepted as legitimate criticisms and insights into the particular language of the ordinance and the council decided to put the potential passing of the rewritten legislation on the agenda for its next meeting.
Williams also announced that the town was seeking Board of Housing Review applicants. Because the town has been working to upgrade property standards and intends to be diligent in enforcing new rules, there will be appeals from time to time. Williams said the group would meet as needed, likely two or thee times per year.