Hearings To Be Held On Alleged Liquor License Violations

By: William F. Galvin

Harwich town seal.

HARWICH — The selectmen have voted to hold hearings on alleged liquor license violations at the Seal Pub and Cafe and the Wychmere Harbor Club. Town Administrator Joseph Powers will serve as the hearing officer.

One alleged violation at the Seal Pub relates to people sitting around the bar at 1:32 a.m. on May 21, after the town's 1:15 closing provision. Officer John Larivee and Sgt. Amy Walinski contacted on-duty manager Josh Winston, who told the officers the five people inside the bar with him were all staff.

Earlier that night, police responded to reports of an intoxicated person wandering around Harwich Center after a night of drinking in the Seal Pub. According to the police report, Officer Christopher Arrigo escorted the person out of the woods. While transporting the person home, the person swore and spit. The intoxicated person was turned over to his father once home, according to the report.

The Wychmere Harbor Club allegedly violated the town’s noise bylaw during a wedding on May 16. The police department received a complaint from a Lantern Lane resident about noise from a live band. Officer Richard Buttrick, Jr. responded twice; on the second occasion, at 10:23 p.m., a noise violation was clearly occurring, he wrote in his report.

Buttrick drove to Saquatucket Harbor and could hear “distinct lyrics of a Bon Jovi song by a live vocalist.” He determined the music was coming from the Wychmere Harbor Club. Buttrick and officer Neil Nolan went to the club and spoke to management, which responded “immediately and significantly” in reducing the volume of the music, according to the report.

Powers said the board must decide if the police reports merit hearings in both cases.

“I think it does if we want to be consistent,” Selectman Mary Anderson said. Selectman Larry Ballantine agreed, but did not think the alleged violations were cause for a hearing. Ballantine said he would consider issuing a warning, but decisions have been made not to do that anymore (see noise bylaw enforcement story).

“I respectfully disagree,” Selectman Donald Howell said. The board needs to set a tone and standard for the establishments, he said. A hearing doesn’t mean the license will be suspended, he added, but owners have to be told if violations continue that there will be punitive actions, he said.

Based on the police reports, Selectmen Chairman Michael MacAskill said that at the very least, the alleged violations are worthy of a hearing. The management of the Seal Pub should know that by 1:15 a.m., the lights should be off and nobody should be inside, he said.