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Lynn tavern hours errors addressed

LYNN – Added testimony from proprietors and those in opposition to a proposed scaling back of bar hours from 2 a.m. to 1 a.m. was heard Wednesday during a court-ordered second hearing at City Hall.The purpose of the hearing according to Licensing Board Commissioner Dick Coppinger, was to correct technical errors that occurred during the first hearing on Oct. 2., in which the rollback was unanimously approved by the Board.”We made the mistake at the last hearing to not take a roll call vote to adjourn and I want to explain what happened,” Coppinger said. “We adjourned to review exhibits, conduct deliberations and public safety, as well as the potential for litigation as a result of actions in the hearing.”The previously recorded votes for the executive session and the rollback were both rescinded by the Board.The public hearing was ordered recessed to be continued on Dec. 19, for further testimony from the public and for attorneys representing the bar owners to review approximately 91 incident reports supplied by the Board, according to Board attorney Vincent Phelan. In addition, plaintiffs were ordered to post a bond of $560.A vote on the rollback was not taken Wednesday.For the second hearing, a much smaller crowd filed into the City Council chambers as opposed to the first hearing on Oct. 2, where licensees, employees and customers crowded together to voice opposition to the proposed time change.Only new testimony was accepted during Wednesday’s hearing, with the old testimony entered into the new hearing as part of the record.Tony Nicosia, owner of Tony’s Pub at 196 Franklin St., said he’s afraid that the proposed time change would affect the bar’s ability to hire a doorman.”This would really loosen my protective veil on the place,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of changes happen in the city and some have been for the better, but I feel that this would be disastrous.”In October, a Salem Superior Court judge ordered the Licensing Board to hold the second hearing after the judge determined the Board had violated the state open meeting law when it held a closed door executive session to discuss rolling back bar hours from 2 a.m. to 1 a.m.Attorney Frederick Riley, who is representing proprietors Rocco DiFillipo, George Chakoutis, Patricia Aldred and Rafael Echavarria, claim the Board violated the law by holding a closed door executive session to discuss the rollback and by not taking a recorded roll call vote to go into session.Riley requested that the Board allow a six-month grace period for attorneys representing the licensees to work with the Board, Lynn police, City Solicitor, Mayor Edward J. Clancy Jr. and the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC).”The liquor suppliers and wholesalers have political clout and resources when they run into regulation problems, but the other part people forget is that the owners, like the ones that I am representing, are all alone,” he said. “I’m asking for a small period of time to even the playing field in this very difficult business.”Phelan said the Board would entertain Riley’s request at the next hearing on Dec. 19.Revere resident Barry Rockland said the city would become further cluttered with intoxicated travelers if hours were scaled back.”I would hate to think that businesses and police would have to go from dealing with the occasional scuffle, to zipping up body bags from people who are going to go into Boston to drink instead,” he said. “This whole idea creates more drunk drivers in the city instead of less drunk drivers because they travel through Lynn.”

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