clarissa roweRowe

Arlington Liquors to transfer ownership, despite 10-day suspension

UPDATED, Dec. 20: Clarissa Rowe, a selectman from 2006 to 2012, was named Monday, Dec. 18, to fill until the April election the seat vacated by Steven Byrne, who resigned Dec. 11.

Board of Selectmen logo, Jan. 23, 2013

"I love this town, and am very interested in serving," said Rowe, who is a principal at a landscape-design company as well as a Town Meeting member active in opposing the Mugar project.

Seven town residents originally sought to be a selectman for a little more than 14 weeks, but one withdrew. Two of them were former selectmen, and board members had said that's what they prefer. 

Both wrote in letters to the selectmen's office that they would not seek election next April.

Four selectmen and Town Moderator John Leone voted unanimously to elect Rowe, a Community Preservation Act Committee member, to be the town’s interim selectman. 

Rowe, whose term expires April 7, 2018, said, “I am a firm believer in helping out with Civil Service for the public good.” As a landscape architect and small business owner, Rowe understands finances. “If nominated, I will step down from CPAC, to avoid any conflict,” Rowe added.

Longtime Selectman Kevin Greeley said, “Clarissa has previously been selected by the people of Arlington, and certainly is ready to be up and running on the next vote.”

Leone initially voted for John Maher, a Town Building Committee member and former longtime town counsel. However, after Greeley suggested a revote, everyone selected Rowe.

Several qualified candidates

“I see this as a celebration of Arlington that so many people were willing to step forward and to serve,” said Selectmen Chair Joseph Curro Jr.

Each candidate presented a three-minute statement of his or her goals and qualifications to the board:

Annie LaCourt – a former selectman, Arlington Education Foundation treasurer and Vision2020 member – said, “My philosophy in dealing with warrant articles is whether we need to make it a bylaw and if a good law can be constructed out of it; and if not, we look for another way to satisfy the proponents.”

Dave Levy, a vice president of tax-advantaged investments at State Street Bank and a Precinct 18 Town Meeting member, was unable to attend.

Maher worked for the town from 1974 until May 2008. Maher expressed his “love for public service, and love for Arlington.”

Samantha Nugent, a family nurse practitioner in postacute care, said, “I’ve always been interested in Arlington’s politics, polices and public service. I love this town, and want to keep it a town. I’m an advocate for people; it’s why I’m a nurse.”
Taryn Walsh served for seven years as the Stratton School’s enrichment coordinator. Her father, Bob Walsh, was a selectman for 16 years. “He encouraged community involvement in his children, and I’ve done my best to have a positive impact on my community,” she said.

A seventh applicant, Jim Munsey, Council on Aging vice chair, dropped out after he realized how many other interested candidates had applied.

“Any of these five would have made great Selectmen,” said Greeley.

“I encourage the two women who are not former selectmen to run for Town Meeting. That’s a good place to start, and there’s always seats available,” suggested Leone.

Greeley elected interim vice chair

Selectmen voted unanimously to elect Greeley as the interim vice chair. Greeley has served on the Board of Selectmen since 1989.

New owners for Arlington Liquors

Arlington Liquors, 94 Summer St., will soon have new owners.  Selectmen voted unanimously to renew, pledge and transfer the license, subject to all conditions.

Are the store’s problems over? Under its previous owner, Alex Kushnirsky, the store had received several violations, including an appealed, and currently unresolved, 10-day suspension for serving underage patrons last February.

In transferring ownership, “Absent any action by the board, or a service of the suspension, the suspension goes with the license, not the license holder,” explained Town Counsel Doug Heim.

Kushnirsky’s lawyer, William A. Kelley Jr., of Considine & Furey, said “Since we last met, a deal has been struck where Kushnirsky agrees to transfer his business, and his license to operate that business, to the new applicants, subject to the board’s approval. If this pledge of license goes through, as soon as the ABCC [Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission] approves it, we’ll drop the appeal. Alex will then close the store and serve those 10 days.”

The new owner, Hemal Patel, along with his sister and brother-in-law, already runs a liquor store in Somerville. “This opportunity enables them to bring their expertise from their current store,” said the Patels’ lawyer, Matthew Porter.

The Patels purchased the Somerville store from Kushnirsky as well, and it came with many of the same problems: underage sales, loitering and excessive rubbish. However, since the Patels took over, there have been no such issues. The store is clean and business is booming, they said.

IDs to be thoroughly checked

When Patel first took over the Somerville store, he and his entire staff took all necessary training. In Arlington, they plan to similarly train everyone, and personally monitor how employees behave. “We make no assumptions regarding ID checks; we ID everyone,” said Patel.

The store will continue to offer deliveries. “We have a foolproof system that can scan IDs and take signatures,” said Patel.

Patel also agreed to place stickers on boxes to discourage underage purchases (Sticker Shock Campaign).

Other license approvals

Selectmen voted unanimously to approve the following licenses for 2018:

Class I
Class II
Class II Non-premise/auctioneer
Lodging houses/innkeepers
Secondhand dealer
Public entertainment
Automatic amusement
Food vendor
Common victualler
Wine and malt beverages only restaurant
All alcohol restaurant
All alcohol club
Theater license
All alcohol package store
Sidewalk café (excluding Broadway Plaza)

Special requests

Selectmen unanimously granted the following special requests:

KENO to-go monitor at 7 Star Grocery, 6 Medford St.;

Traffic restriction change to Venner Road and Concord Turnpike intersection;

Department of Public Works contract certification, Michael Rademacher, director;

Parmenter School lease extension; and

One-day beer-and-wine license for private event, Robbins Memorial Town Hall, Jan. 13, 2018.

Dec. 13, 2017: 6 seeking 14-week selectman seat include two ex-members

Nov. 20, 2017: Selectman Byrne to bow out in December, cites job impact

This news summary was published Monday, Dec. 18, 2017, and was updated to a full report YourArlington freelancer Susan Gilbert.