The Boston Globe reports that more than 75 local restaurant owners and residents gathered in front of Waltham’s City Council Monday night to oppose adding 15 new liquor licenses to the town’s existing 100 licenses.
They said the change could lead to unfair business advantages, depreciate the value of existing licenses, and change the character of Waltham.
If approved in a home rule petition to the state Legislature, the 15 new liquor licenses – 10 full alcohol, and five beer and wine – would be owned by the city and leased to large restaurant chains to keep pace with commercial development in certain areas, like the Watch Factory along the Charles River and certain areas of Totten Pond Road.
Waltham’s current 100 alcohol licenses are bought by restaurant owners upfront – usually in the $100,000 range.
More than a dozen people spoke at the public hearing, most railing against the idea presented by the Licensing Commission. Some speakers stated that fifteen licenses will oversaturate the market. Many of those opposed were themselves owners of independently-operated restaurants.