City officials say Hyde Park boozy enough, oppose proposed liquor store on Fairmount Avenue

UPDATE: The licensing board rejected the request for a liquor license.

The Boston Licensing Board decides tomorrow whether to grant a license to a liquor store on Fairmount Avenue across from the fire station.

At a hearing today, Joel Nunez said his Fairmount Wine and Spirits at 59 Fairmount Ave. would meet a public need for a liquor store that nearby residents could walk to, rather than having to get in their cars to drive the four or five blocks to ODB Liquors on Hyde Park Avenue.

But representatives from both the mayor's office and district City Councilor Rob Consalvo told the board they oppose Nunez's store - roughly kitty corner from the site of the failed Albert Winestein - because Hyde Park already has enough liquor stores. In addition to ODB, they pointed to alcohol emporiums on Hyde Park Avenue and Truman Parkway and in Wolcott Square.

The mayor's office said it is also concerned about public safety because of the store's location across from the fire station. Human nature being what it is, people would park in front of the store to dash in for a bottle - potentially blocking in fire trucks on their way out of the fire station on the narrowest part of Fairmount, the mayor's rep said.

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    I know licenses are scarce and all...

    But don't keep a man from starting a business if one of your main excuses is "he's trying to compete in a saturated market". Because you don't know one big thing: Is he going to beat the competition's price/quality/service to the benefit of the consumers?

    Maybe it's one of those other 3 places that needs to close because they aren't as good as this guy at selling alcohol.

    Also, is Hyde Park really over served? This recent map suggests maybe it isn't.

    Finally, if customers are blocking a fire station, then tow the customers. Directly in front of the address is an intersection and opposite the store is Davison Street, not the fire station...so if anyone's parking in front of the place, they should be towed for parking in the intersection. In front of that is opposite the fire station...which is a bus stop...again, tow anyone parking in a bus stop. Furthermore, the front of that fire station is WIDE...extremely WIDE and I doubt any of that station's trucks have a hard time getting out of that station at all.

    Something smells...like "the mayor already has a beef with Joel Nunez" smell or something.

    I think you meant this version of the map

    I think you meant this version of the map.

    The state-wide one you linked was too low-rez to show distinct Boston neighborhoods, and all the others in that Bostonography article page fail to extend to the Hyde Park neighborhood (in fact, most of them ignore the majority of the city's area/population and just concentrate on downtown - a ongoing pet peeve of mine re: the otherwise wonderful Bostonography site).

    I agree with you btw - it looks like Hyde Park has a pretty typical-to-low concentration of liq licenses compared to the other city neighborhood centers - hardly seems like they're in danger of oversaturation.

    Given that this is the Mayah's stomping grounds, one has to wonder if there's an element of personal preference being projected onto a municipal decision - either by M. himself or by his people doing it themselves out of a Henry II-like sycophancy.

    Thanks

    Couldn't find that one and wanted to also try to include the per-capita criteria because of how it effected the graph from the original article, but couldn't find one (as you said) of good enough resolution or long-range enough to capture Hyde Park.

    Some differences

    Albert Winestein was just wine (not sure if they had beer, too). This proposal called for all kinds of liquor.

    Winestein was not opposite the fire station, so no possible firetruck issues.

    I didn't attend the hearing when Winestein was discussed, so I don't know if there was opposition or not. However, I suspect not both for the above reasons and because, at the time, it was heralded as Yet More Proof that that sleepy part of the street was coming alive again, what with Townsend's across the street (as we now know, however, that sleepy part of the street was not, in fact, coming alive again).

    The applicant, I believe, made one really big mistake: His lawyer didn't show up at the hearing but he decided to go ahead anyway. After he was unable to say exactly how much square footage the space has and after he gave kind of a vague answer on how he would keep kids patronizing the convenience-store part of the space from getting into the booze, board member Suzanne Ianella, normally fairly quiet in hearings, pretty much read him the riot act and said she wasn't sure he was really ready to run a liquor store.

    The "public need" thing is a legal requirement for liquor licenses, not just something the board feels like asking. So when the mayor and the city councilor say they don't think there's a public need, the board takes that into consideration. I guess it's one of the hazards of having a highly regulated commodity such as liquor licenses. In the past, the board has made a big point of saying it considers each request on its merits, rather than taking a zoning-like overall approach (this has been an issue along Harvard Avenue in Allston, where each restaurant that wants to stay open late has to fight for that right, leading to a street where every restaurant/bar seems to have a different closing time).

    I also believe (and here I have to state I Am Not a Lawyer), he can appeal the decision to the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.

    United Liquors

    One of the mayor's strongest supporters. I'm guessing they have the final say on who does and doesn't get approved. The other three shops are probably big customers of United and they don't want to take the chance of a non-United shop opening in the area. Just a guess. Probably a pretty easy formula though - basically how many sf of liquor retail is there per capita - if you can show that it's a relatively low number - you might have a case. If it's a high number you might have more of a problem. As Kaz says - it's really a matter of who's to say this guy isn't better than the existing stores. As long as he's a responsible owner - he should be permitted to open and let the market decide.

    One interesting note - very little development of ANY kind happens in Hyde Park. Saw some city numbers recently and Hyde Park has almost no current or proposed development in the BRA database and at 1% of the housing stock and 1% growth annually they also have by far the least affordable housing and growth of affordable housing of any neighborhood in the city.

    Maybe nobody wants to move there because there's no place to buy booze!

    The readers of this page are

    The readers of this page are uniquely smart. There is no amount of facts or safety concerns that the city can give us that hides the obvious favoritism demonstrated by our local politicians...I know Mr. Nunez, and I know many Hyde Park residents....and to say that there are too many liquor stores, or that it's a parking safety hazard are as close to an out and out lie that you can get...Mr. Nunez has operated many stores in the city so he is no stranger to the regulations and arguments used to blockade entrepreneurship. In speaking with him, he had predicted the very BS told to him at his hearing. Coincidence? No, more like the same old tired folks leaving our city to grow at a turtle's pace, so they can make a name for themselves and play the game on a bigger stage....Keep fighting Joel!!

    The same old story....

    I have lived in boston for years and I'm tired of seeing this happen to our hard working residents. We have the right to work hard and open up business just like everyone else. Most of the LQ stores in boston have been owned and operated by the same families for years and years. I CALL THAT a Monopoly..... by not letting other enter into these types of ventures Mayor Menino keeps everything quiet and business for those who are already in his pocket.

    You got that right

    A friend of mine was putting together a biz plan - I told her do not pass go, do not look elsewhere, do not hire on the cheap - hire Quilty to get your licene$e$ - unless you are Greek and then there's some other guy that specializes in serving the Greek restaurant commmunity.

    Too tough to walk 4-5 blocks?

    Is it really? I don't care one way or the other whether this guy gets a license but to claim that his store is necessary because otherwise people have to travel 4-5 blocks is just . . . dumb.

    dumb? have you been to the

    dumb? have you been to the city? in my neighborhood and across the city there are multiple packy stores, bars, groceries, restaurants that have the same stuff but a few block apart. Do people favor one or the other? you better believe it...

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