In a follow-up decision that seemed anti-climactic given the proposal’s early rejection, the select last week allowed a Chestnut Street beer garden to continue serving customers until Labor Day weekend – and most likely beyond.
The June 22nd vote of the board effectively extends the terms of an unorthodox licensing agreement that integrates 30 separate one-day casting licenses granted to Shovel Town Brewery of Easton into a single regulatory approval.
The license granted by Selectmen last week allows Shovel Town to operate until Friday September 3rd, after which an additional 30 day license is required. If all goes well, the brewery hopes to stay open until the end of October.
The initial 30-day agreement began on Thursday, May 27th and ends on Sunday, July 11th.
Shovel Town, which operates A Taste of Foxboro on vacant land next to Conrad’s Restaurant, is also working with Douglas King Builders on plans to open a brewpub in the former Common Rotary fire station.
King had been chosen by the city to repurpose the old fire station as part of a redevelopment proposal that consists of demolishing the vacant Keating Funeral Home and replacing it with a 15-unit residential building. He agreed to pay $ 405,000 for the fire station and funeral home combined packages, a sale that was only recently completed.
The Chestnut Street venture, which included a property owned by the king, had met fierce opposition from neighbors who, during a series of emotional public hearings, predicted that it would result in a litany of noise, traffic and parking nuisances.
In response to these concerns, applicants had to install a two meter high fence along the property line and meet a number of other licensing requirements.
Based on Shovel Town’s performance since the outdoor craft beer garden opened, Chair Leah Gibson said she was comfortable extending the license.
“Personally, I’ve never heard of problems,” said Gibson. âIf anything, I’ve heard that the fence made the neighborhood look better. The neighbors were very happy about that. “
Operation continues four days a week: Thursdays and Fridays from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Sundays / public holidays from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. – on a case-by-case basis due to special circumstances.
Shovel Town co-owners James McSherry and Frank Alteri were on hand to provide a report on operational progress and advised selected members that the site managers had received no complaints from neighbors, patrons or city officials.
“The audience was great,” said Alteri. âWe’ve only heard good reviews from customers we’ve spoken to. It seems to have been well received. “
Alteri admitted, however, that he and McSherry underestimated the extent to which weather conditions would affect the outdoor business. This became painfully apparent on Memorial Day weekend which, with three days of uninterrupted rain, turned out to be washout.
“Not just the rain, but when it’s really warm or windy,” he groaned. “Every possible weather scenario has influenced us and that was really more than we expected.”
Despite the unpredictable weather and other issues, town manager William Keegan gave Alteri and McSherry high marks for keeping their promises.
“It has been a pleasure working with these gentlemen,” said Keegan. “Everything we asked them to do, they did.”
Gibson said she was particularly impressed with the wristband system Shovel Town implemented to control access to the beer garden.
Alteri said the system uses a special scanner to read barcodes found on driver’s licenses that instantly report a false ID and confirm the user’s correct age.
He also noted that the site’s layout was carefully designed to minimize noise pollution for local residents.
With early fall operations in mind, Selectman reminded Edward O’Leary Alteri and McSherry that Chestnut Street is the main route for luxury box and club seat owners exiting Interstate 95 for priority parking at Gillette Stadium.
“You have to be a bit prepared for that,” said O’Leary of the traffic before the game.