Ponkapoag Civic OK’d for more one-day alcohol licenses

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Noting a better spirit of cooperation between neighbors and the Ponkapoag Civic Association, selectmen on Tuesday night unanimously approved eight additional one-day licenses to serve alcoholic beverages at the Civic’s outdoor patio and picnic area from 4-8 p.m.

Earlier this year, the board approved eight initial one-day licenses for June and July as part of a compromise plan between the Civic and its neighbors, and so far six of the dates have been held with no complaints. (The remaining dates are this week, July 13 and 14.)

“Things were fairly quiet,” reported neighbor Larry Ransford.

The new dates for alcohol service are July 20 and 21, July 27 and 28, August 3 and 4, and August 10 and 11.

In recent years, neighbors had grown increasingly concerned over the service of alcohol at the Civic, which began as a small neighborhood club but has since expanded its membership to include residents from across Canton. Neighbors had cited a variety of issues, including outdoor drinking, child safety, garbage disposal, parking, beer delivery, and overall security.

With the help of Selectman Kevin Feeney and former Selectman Bob Burr, members of the Ponkapoag board and abutters were able to negotiate several conditions and a tryout of one-day licenses this summer.

However, current BOS Chairman John Connolly, much like his predecessor Burr, stressed that any violation of the conditions would lead the board to reconsider the one-day licenses.

Feeney said if the Civic wanted to apply for an alteration of premises license in the future to allow for permanent alcohol service, then the selectmen would probably send the request to the zoning board for an opinion and a setting of conditions.

“I see this as a zoning board issue,” he said. “They are the professionals and mediate these kind of things.”

Ponkapoag Civic President John Davis said the current goal of the board is to continue to be good neighbors and to use this summer’s remaining one-day licenses without any problems or issues.

In other news:

* Connolly reaffirmed Canton’s intention to draw up a Request for Proposals (RFP) to hire an architectural firm to help determine the costs of either repairing Metropolis Skating Rink or building a new regional rink on the existing site or just up the road on the state-owned Indian Line Farm site. Connolly reiterated Tuesday night that the state has no money to give to Canton or Norwood in its state budget over the next two fiscal years. Connolly said he got the impression at a recent meeting with the Department of Conservation and Recreation that Canton controls its own destiny with regard to building a rink but that it must use its insurance proceeds ($3.2 million plus the possibility of an additional $1 million) and/or supplement the project with additional town money. Connolly said it is his understanding that Norwood can build its own rink on town-owned land (adjacent to its middle school in South Norwood) but it would have to be entirely town funded. “The state told us we are in the driver’s seat, but we would not receive any state money,” said Connolly. “They told us we are on our own …

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