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Norton Selectmen Discuss Liquor Policy Changes

Selectmen agree to make first changes in liquor policy since the early 90s.

The Norton Board of Selectmen discussed their plan to revise the alcohol policy of the town.

Selectmen decided in an earlier meeting to take a look at their current liquor policy since it hasn’t been changed since the early 90s.

The biggest issue of contention on the policy was the punitive rates for establishments in Norton that break the town’s policy. Currently in the policy, the punitive measures for a first and third offense had minimums. A first offense was a suspension of the place’s alcohol license for five days and the third offense was 10 to 30 days.

The board tentatively agreed to suspend an offender’s liquor license for up to five days on a first offense to allow for some flexibility and human error.

“I like to have guidelines; honest people can make mistakes,” Bradford Bramwell.

The board agreed that leeway on the first offense is a good idea, as sometimes a violation cannot be prevented.

“I don’t have an objection for going up to five days on the first offense,” said selectman Robert Kimball. “We had something recently happen where the owner saw [a violation] happening right in front of him…and he knew he was going to get caught and he couldn’t stop it. I think giving a range on the first offense is something we should consider.”

 The board agreed to keep the second offense punishment a 10 day suspension, 30 days for a third offense and a full license revocation for a fourth offense.

Kimball said that to get an official suspension, the owner of an establishment has to be called to come before the board of selectmen, but he said sometimes that doesn’t happen. He said sometimes he and the chief talk to the offender when something’s going on.

“He has the ability to pull them out and try to reason with them,” Kimball said.

Selectmen said they would continue the discussion on mitigating factors in offenses at the next meeting.

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