ROCKPORT — At next week’s Town Election, residents will decide if they want more Rockport businesses selling alcohol.
It’s the only ballot question before voters. If it passes, the Board of Selectmen will be allowed to grant two additional annual liquor licenses to “gourmet or specialty food stores” that do not allow on-site consumption. With the license, a store would be able to sell beer and wine for customers to bring home.
The question appears on the ballot following initial approval by residents at Town Meeting last September.
In February, Whistlestop Market became the first store in town to sell beer and wine to customers on the go. Residents had initially voted to allow one grocery store in Rockport to hold a retail sales license, at Town Meeting in 2012, but no applications came forward until 2018, when Whistlestop owner Jay Smith sought to open the town’s only grocery store since the former IGA closed in 2010.
Since 1856, Rockport forbade the sale of alcohol in town. But that finally changed in 2005 when residents voted to allow their local restaurants to serve beer and wine. It came with conditions, however, namely that drinks could only be served with a meal.
It wasn’t until 2015 that the town allowed alcoholic drinks to be served without a meal at a restaurant.
Elsewhere on Tuesday’s ballot, a number of candidates are running for seats in town government. There are no contested races.
The candidates are as follows:
Board of Selectmen — Don Campbell (incumbent)
Assessor of Taxes — Wilhelmina Moores
Town Clerk — Patricia Brown (incumbent)
Planning Board, two seats — Herman Lilja (incumbent) and Thomas Mikus
Trustee of the Public Library — Robert Audano (incumbent)
School Committee — Cathleen Reilly
Housing Authority — Theresa Byrne
Each seat carries a three-year term, save for the Housing Authority, which is five years.
Polls will be open Tuesday, June 11, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., at three locations: Precinct 1 — Town Hall Annex, 26 Broadway; Precinct 2 — St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 24 Broadway; and Precinct 3 — Rockport Community House, 58 Broadway.
For more information on the election, contact the town clerk’s office at 978-546-6894 or visit www.rockportma.gov.
Michael Cronin may be contacted at 978-675-2708, or firstname.lastname@example.org.