The outpouring of support for The Urban Grape from the communities of Newton and Brookline has been really outstanding over the past two days. We cannot thank you enough. Many of you are asking for clear, actionable steps on how to make your voice heard against Star Market’s beer and wine package store application. After spending half the day on the phone I think I have a lot of the answers. Here’s who wants to hear from you:
-The Newton Liquor License Commission
- The Ward 7 Board of Aldermen
- The City of Newton Government, specifically, the Mayor’s Office
Here is who you should also consider speaking with:
- The Board of Aldermen in your own Ward
- Your Neighborhood Associations. This is why we have neighborhood associations! They are vital to this process, and up to this point have been kept largely in the dark about Star Market’s plans. Concerned calls and emails are particularly vital in the neighborhoods surrounding the Chestnut Hill Shopping Plaza.
- The media. This is the easiest way to spread the word about these issues. Consider writing an Op-Ed, or reach out to the Newton Tab, Newton Patch, or the Boston Globe West. The more you care about the story, the more they will care about the story.
- Your neighbors! Spread the word. Newton and Brookline are communities first and foremost. Good old word of mouth is still king around here!
Here is how to contact the Newton Liquor Licensing Board:
- Compose an email with your thoughts and concerns. It does not need to be a long email, but it should express YOUR concerns. Examples expressed to me from community members include concern about an over-abundance of package stores already in existence at the Route 9/Hammond St intersection. Many feel that the community is already being well-served by the existing package stores and that there is no need for another (after all, there has been a package store in our location for over 45 years, and no one has ever expressed the need for more before now!). Many of you are worried about under-age access to alcohol and the equivalent rise in drunk driving rates. On the business side, you’ve expressed fears about the commoditization of Newton as it gets harder for small businesses to compete. You may just really love The Urban Grape (less important in the eyes of the liquor licensing board, but we love you too), and/or Winestone, and/or GPS Liquors. Whatever YOUR reason is, state it clearly and succinctly in an email.
- Address that email to the Newton Liquor Licensing Board and send it to John MacGillivray at email@example.com.
- Please cc the following people:
The Mayor’s Office: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org (Setti Warren, Patrick Johnson, Megan Costello)
Ward 7 Board of Aldermen: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com (Lisle Baker, Marc Laredo, Ruthanne Fuller)
That’s a lot of cc’s, but they are all important!
There is one last step: Attend the Liquor Licensing Board Meeting at the Newton Town Hall, Room 209 on Tuesday, February 21st at 7:30 PM. Letters and phone calls and petitions are the first step. But the clearest way to make yourself and your concerns heard is to attend the hearing. Despite the technology at our fingertips, local government is about showing up and being counted. Anyone may attend.
Let’s do this together! Stay tuned to the blog all week for updates and next steps. And thank you!