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Swampscott board OKs yacht club liquor license extension

SWAMPSCOTT – Patrons will be able to consume alcohol on the yet-to-be-constructed porch of the Swampscott Yacht Club.After more than an hour of discussion, the selectmen voted 4-0 to allow the existing liquor license for the Swampscott Yacht Club, which is located on the second floor of the historic Fish House, to be extended onto the proposed porch despite the objections of some area residents.SYC Commodore Bob Sharpe said the club has established rules of conduct that would be strictly enforced, including no glass bottles on the porch, no smoking and no loud noise. He said the addition was necessary to ensure the viability of the club and to help attract new members. Lynn Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Leslie Gould urged the selectmen to approve modification of the license. Humphrey Street resident Kenneth Grant wrote a letter to the selectmen urging them to approve the change to the liquor license.”Were I present I would argue for its approval,” he wrote. “The club is committed to be sensitive to the impact of its activities on our neighborhood.”William Hennessey, who is a former commodore of the SYC, sent a letter that was read into the record opposing amending the liquor license.Mary Ellen Fletcher, who is an abutter and a member of the SYC, also urged the selectmen not to approve the requested change to the liquor license.”When there’s live music I can hear it in my house,” she said.Fletcher said she is also concerned that children on the public beach would be able to see individuals drinking on the porch.Abutter Clara Grimes said she is concerned about noise and liquor being served.Resident Harvey Newcomb keeps a boat in the harbor and said when he goes out in the harbor on his boat on a quiet night he doesn’t want to listen to noise emanating from the yacht club.The SYC, which is a private club, has leased the second floor of the building from the town for more than seven decades. The club leases the building for $12,000 a year.Sylvia Belkin, who is a member of the Swampscott Historical Commission, said she doesn’t believe it’s appropriate to have people drinking on the porch of a town-owned building.”It offends me,” she said. “This is the oldest and most precious building in the community.”Selectman David Van Dam said he believes the SYC would be responsible and his colleagues readily concurred. Richard Malagrifa doesn’t believe the request is unreasonable, Matthew Strauss said the club has a proven track record of running successful and controlled events and Jill Sullivan added that she believes the town is fortunate to have a tenant willing to maintain and invest in the Fish House property.The proposed deck has been a subject of controversy since it was first proposed by the SYC more than a year ago. In May 2010 after two hours of discussion, the selectmen voted 4-1 to allow the SYC to build a porch on the historic Fish House despite a petition presented to the selectmen, which was signed by more than 500 taxpayers opposing the project.

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