Main Street Tedeschi Gets Elusive Liquor License
Tedeschi's lawyer claimed it was the only convenience store in town that could not sell liquor while opponents believed a license would be harmful to children and the surrounding residential area.
In a rare 3-2 decision, the Westford Board of Selectmen approved a liquor license for what applicants claimed was the only convenience store in town without one.
Eighteen months after their request was denied, Tedeschi Food Stores at 103 Main St. was given a license by the board to sell wine and malt liquor after testimony for and against the decision.
Tedeschi attorney Doug Deschenes began the hearing citing his client’s economic hardship given the fact that other convenience stores in town have licenses as well as inconsistencies he saw with the board’s earlier decision to deny the license.
Deschenes told the board he could not understand why easy access to other nearby liquor stores would be a factor when other stores with licenses existing in clusters, as well as not understanding earlier concerns from neighbors when he said all zoning regulations had been followed , as well as proposed location of the alcohol in the store when he claimed that it would be closer to the cashier than at other stores with liquor licenses.
Westford Police officials cited no concerns over the issuance of the license, but local opinion was torn between the decision.
For some in the neighborhood, fears of additional traffic that would hinder a church in the Tedeschi plaza and the belief that the atmosphere of the area would change were the primary reasons against the new license.
“Location has a bearing on possible consequences, we don’t know what could happen with changing the landscape,” said Dennis Keras, a neighbor of the store on Main Street. “You’re changing an image, you’re giving a different feel to something that’s been there for a long time…as the image changes, there’s an allure to that, kids will see the signs and you can’t take that away.”
Proponents of giving the license cited that children frequented restaurants near stores with liquor licenses in other parts of town with no significant problem, and that denying the license would harm Tedeschi’s ability to function as a business.
“I said this 18 months ago, there’s nothing there to prevent a beer and wine license, and I’ll say it again now,” said Fred Healy of Crusade Road, who noted that he goes to the store every day. “As someone who grew up in Graniteville, I can say that Parent’s Market always had a slew of kids, and as a business owner, I can say that this guy is at a disadvantage.”
Each Selectman took a different reason for their decision, starting with Selectman Kelly Ross, who opposed the license on the grounds of the license being a hardship, which he did not agree with due the abundance of other stores nearby with licenses.
Selectman Valerie Wormell also opposed the license, under fears that the identity of the neighborhood would change, something not similar in places like Spinner’s in Forge Village or Parent’s in Graniteville, which she claimed had a different personality as village centers.
In support of the measure, Selectman Andrea Peraner-Sweet supported the measure on the store owners’ claim that not having a license was indeed a disadvantage and if there were any problems the license would be taken away very quickly.
Selectman Jim Sullivan also supported the measure, saying that his previous concerns with the location of where the alcohol would be placed within the store had been changed from the previous application.
Chairman Robert Jefferies broke the tie citing the fact that unlike previous applications by the Main Street Tedeschi Store, this time there were local residents who supported the application along with those who opposed it.
The store is one of two Tedeschi stores within Westford, with the other Tedeschi on Brookside Road in Nabnasset currently holding a liquor license.