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‘Bring Your Own Beer’ Rules May Change In New Town Alcohol Policy

Burlington Town Administrator Paul Sagarino presented the Select Board Feb. 13 with a draft of an update to the town’s alcohol policy as part of an ongoing effort to revisit many of the town’s policies and procedures. 

Sagarino said the policy had been rewritten based on the previous one, with some changes that would need to be resolved by a Select Board vote at a later date. 

The updated policy, if adopted, could change the hours in which businesses can sell alcohol and add language around “Bring Your Own Alcohol,” which is not currently in the regulations. 

“When we started to discuss this, we discussed a lot of things, and one of those things was ‘Bring your own alcohol’ to a place,” said Select Board Member Joseph Morandi. “That’s something, I think, that we need to discuss a little bit harder: Coolers, no coolers, that kind of stuff has to be written in there.” 

Morandi also suggested revisiting policies around suspending a business’s liquor licenses for violations. Currently, businesses face a one-day suspension for their first offense, a five-day suspension for their second offense, a 10-day suspension for their third offense, and a 15-day suspension for their fourth offense, no matter how much time passes between offenses. 

Morandi suggested that because staff and even ownership can turn over between offenses, restaurants’ records could be wiped clean every so often.

“I’m with [Morandi] on resetting the clock on some of these suspensions,” said Select Board Vice Chair Michael Runyan. “People may have had one from 20 years ago. They get ticketed December of next year and it’s going to be a five-day suspension after being good for 20 years or something. I think it’s only reasonable to pick a time, a number of years when the clock is reset on some of these violations.” 

The Select Board will review the draft policy and discuss further in a later meeting.