The City Council will consider a proposal to seek permission from the state legislature to give Boston four new liquor licenses that would be restricted to use in the Bolling Building in Nubian Square, as a way to help stimulate economic activity there and help ease the historic disparity between wealthy Boston Proper areas and the city's Black and Brown neighborhoods when it comes to liquor licenses.
Although the building is mainly used as the Boston Public Schools headquarters, its ground floor has restaurant and community space.
Councilors Ruthzee Louijeune (at large) and Julia Mejia (at large) proposed what would be a home-rule petition to the state legislature, which still controls how many liquor licenses Boston can issue. The council has been unsuccessful in getting large numbers of new liquor licenses for Boston since 2014, when then Councilor Ayanna Pressley shepherded legislation that got Boston 75 new licenses, most for neighborhoods outside downtown, the North End, the Back Bay and the waterfront.
Under Louijeune's and Mejia's proposal, the licenses would be limited to restaurants in the Bolling Building and could not be resold - if a restaurant with one of the licenses closes or moves, it would have to give it back to the city to dole out to another Bolling restaurant.
However, Councilor Tania Fernandes Anderson, who represents Nubian Square and the rest of Roxbury, said she opposes the proposal. She said she recognizes the argument that liquor licenses can help restaurants thrive and can boost a neighborhood's economy, but said that her Muslim faith teaches her that alcohol is "detrimental to health and well being: and that there are "healthier, more appropriate ways to grow an economy."
The measure now goes to a Council committee for study before coming back before the council for a final vote.