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Newton board rejects beer and wine sales at Route 9 Star Market

Posted by Your Town  February 22, 2012 09:49 AM

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The Newton Licensing Board in a 2-0 vote Tuesday night rejected a request by Star Market to sell beer and wine at its Chestnut Hill store.

Star Market representatives brought a petition signed by about 2,500 shoppers backing the license request. But opponents of the license filled the room, brought their own petition and spoke, one after another, during the hour-and-half long hearing.

The board was not persuaded that issuing Star Market a beer and wine license was in the best interest of the community, said Martina Jackson, the chairwoman of the licensing board, this morning.

There is already a license holder in that shopping center, Urban Grape, a boutique wine-seller, Jackson said.

Star Market also didn’t offer enough precautions in its proposal to prevent the sale of alcohol to minors, Jackson said.

When the grocery chain used to sell alcohol at its Newtonville store several years ago, the beer and wine was in a special section and an older clerk checked out customers, Jackson said.

"We were not persuaded that the public need and public good would be served," she said.
Star Market’s license request had stirred controversy in the Chesnut Hill area, where there are already three small liquor stores.

Star Market applied for the license under a new state law passed last year that allows large grocery chains to slowly increase the number of their stores that sell alcohol.

The beer and wine license was part of changes that Star Market was making to its Chestnut Hill location to create a one-stop shopping experience for customers, officials with the company had said.

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