The city council today voted 12-1 to ask the legislature to lift the current state cap on liquor licenses in Boston and return control of the Boston Licensing Board to the mayor.
Only Councilor Bill Linehan (South Boston, South End, Chinatown) voted against at-large Councilor Ayanna Pressley's proposal.
The home-rule petition to go to the legislature would not only give Boston control back over liquor licenses, but would require the licensing board to "make distribution of licenses a priority in Main Street districts, urban renewal areas, empowerment zones and municipal harbor plan areas." Over the past two to three years, licenses have increasingly become concentrated downtown and along the waterfront as well heeled national chains offer up to $300,000 for licenses on the open market.
Under Pressley's plan, at least one member of the board would have to represent "an empowerment zone, urban renewal, district or main street district." Her measure would maintain the current state limits on the number of package-store licenses in the city.