HUDSON – A Select Board member’s proposed changes to one-day liquor license regulations would have increased the cost to permit Medusa Brewing Company’s beer garden by 3650%.
Select Board member Shawn Sadowski presented the proposed changes during the Sept. 12 meeting, which were ultimately not implemented.
Sadowski said he looked at the regulations in other towns and wanted to make changes to make Hudson’s up-to-date and “flow with the surrounding towns.”
Under Hudson’s current regulations, Hudson’s one-day licenses are subject to the applicant supplying proof of sufficient liability insurance being in effect during the term of license and naming Hudson as a co-insured.
Among Sadowski’s changes, he proposed a $50 fee for a one-day all alcohol per day and $75 wine and malt per day with the wine and malt being reduced to $50 for nonprofits. He said there would be a possibility that the Select Board could also waive the all-alcohol fee for a non-profit.
Further the application would be filled out and filed with the Executive Assistant’s office 15 days prior to the date of the event so the board could consider it at their regularly-scheduled meetings instead of holding a special meeting, Sadowski said.
Medusa speaks out
Medusa Brewing Company has three 30-day licenses to operate their beer garden.
Co-owner Keith Sullivan said they pay $180 to permit the beer garden each season, and the proposed changes would cost Medusa $6,750 to permit the garden.
Sullivan said Medusa has tried and is interested in permitting the venue with the state as a full-time venue.
“But it’s the fact alone of that increase that clearly outlines a desire to inflict some kind of harm to my business, and I am not saying that lightly,” Sullivan said.
He continued, “You’re using this position as a member of Hudson Select Board to do so. I can understand one’s pursuit of positive change, given the role that you are in. However, Mr. Sadowski, sacrificing the wellbeing of one of the town’s businesses is so far removed from common logic that I cannot find any hint of alternative reasoning to convince myself this proposal is not actually meant to be punitive. It just is. It’s malicious. There is absolutely no denying that at this point.”
Sullivan noted that Sadowski voted against the pouring permit for Medusa’s offshoot, Wild Hare, earlier this year, which would allow the business to open. At that time, Sadowski raised concerns about the timing and scope of notices sent to abutters regarding the meeting.
Sullivan said he couldn’t Sullivan “find any logic in this action apart from using your position to make an example of my business to express your opinion of the legislature that our state has put in place.”
While he said he wouldn’t speak for other Hudson businesses, Sullivan said as a business and property owner he’d had enough.
“Since your election to the board, you’ve made numerous statements, actions and votes that either defy logic and rationale or clearly show a disdain for small businesses here in Hudson, especially mine,” Sullivan said.
He asked Sadowski to “stop, think and collaborate” with business owners. Sullivan said the relationship of current and previous Select Board members and the business community was the answer to Hudson’s “secret sauce.”
“It’s called teamwork,” Sullivan said. “No one is or should be out to get one another.”
Sadowski said he would respond to Sullivan’s statement in writing.
Following a question from Select Board member Michael Burks Sr., Executive Assistant Thomas Gregory said they hadn’t been approached about the license procedure being problematic.
However, some Select Board members businesses voiced concerns. Select Board member Judy Congdon said she didn’t know if they could justify the additional money to cover administrative fees. Burks, who previously served as Hudson’s police chief and signed the licenses, said in some cases the licenses needed to be adjusted or signed last minute. Under the proposed time period for action to take place at a regularly-scheduled meeting, Burks said they may make applicants wait and not be able to have their festival.
“In my opinion, the changes will harm the process,” said Burks.
The motion to implement the changes died from lack of a second.
Watch the full exchange online at https://livestream.com/accounts/1289376/events/10074074/videos/232900553.