Published in the November 17, 2016 edition
By BOB TUROSZ
NORTH READING — The disposition of the beer and wine license held by the former Tedeschi’s store at 202 North St. was back before the Board of Selectmen, which postponed a decision until Nov. 21.
Chris Pendleton, owner of the former Tedeschi store and holder of the license, was seeking approval to transfer the license to Vivek Patel, owner of the Richdale Convenience Store at 4 Lowell Rd. After a lengthy hearing, the Selectmen continued the matter pending more information from the police and fire departments.
The vote to postpone was 3–2, with Michael Prisco and Kathryn Manupelli both in opposition because they were ready to make a decision. But Selectman Stephen O’Leary said it was important to have all pertinent information since concerns were raised about the traffic patterns in the Richdale parking lot by an opponent of the license transfer.
Atty. Gregory Demakis of Lynn explained Patel has owned the Richdale Store for three years and seeks to purchase the beer and wine license which has been dormant since the Tedeschi’s closed earlier this year.
Back in August, the Selectmen rejected Pendleton’s request to transfer the license to a new business in the old Tedeschi’s space on the grounds that it would not be a full convenience store.
Demakis said Patel owns two other stores with beer and wine licenses and has already purchased a scanner to check the driver’s licenses of anyone purchasing beer or wine who looks to be under 40. “This will be a very well run operation” and the manager will be Shola Patel, a resident of town for 13 years.
Demakis said the Richdale Store in located in the middle of a commercial cluster with several other locations holding beer and wine or all alcohol licenses, including New England Beverage, Speedway, and Convenience Plus over a mile away.
The transfer of the license to Richdale was opposed by Stelios Papadopoulos, owner of the Captain Pizza Restaurant, who recently purchased the property at 202 North St. where Captain Pizza and the former Tedeschi’s is located.
Papadopoulos objected to the transfer because he bought the property expecting he could rent out the old Tedeschi store to someone who could keep the license at that location. He suggested thAT moving the license to 4 Lowell Rd. would create “traffic problems” for the town and said his property had better parking and access.
Papadopoulos said he wants to keep the license there for the service of his customers and the new store. He asked the board not to transfer the license. He and his wife Christiana said over 300 of their customers signed a petition opposed to the transfer of the license.
Chris Pendleton clarified that Tedeschi’s never owned the license, which was never part of the deal when the store closed. He said Patel is seeking to purchase the license in an effort to grow his business at 4 Lowell Rd.
Atty. Demakis answered Papadopoulos by pointing out they tried to keep the license at 202 North St. back in August, but the board refused. “The board said because of restrictions on the deed to Mr. Papadopoulos that said you can’t have a full convenience store and we got turned down.” The board said at that time they didn’t want a store limited to beer, wine, tobacco and lottery.
“You’ve already said no to the old location. If you say no to the new location, Mr. Pendeton is out of options,” Demakis said.
Selectman Manupelli explained the situation: Tedeschi’s was a convenience store, which sold much more than just alcohol. When the property was sold it came with a permanent deed restriction that it could not be a full convenience store. That’s on record.
The other important piece, said Manupelli, is that there is no public need for the beer and wine license there because of the number of other licenses in the vicinity. “There was no public need to have the license because there are so many other establishments where someone can go to purchase liquor.”
She pointed out the Selectmen denied a previous request for a beer and wine license at the Lowell St. plaza about 17 years ago and said there’s been no change in circumstances since then.
The Tedeschi’s license expires on Dec. 31.
The fact that the deed restriction prohibits a full convenience store came out of the last hearing in August. But none of that is part of this hearing, said Chairman Robert Mauceri.
Selectman Stephen O’Leary wasn’t present for the Aug. 22 hearing and said he probably would have voted in favor of the license transfer. He noted the board’s rejection of the beer and wine license on Lowell Rd. over 15 years ago was upheld by the ABCC. He did not see that the location or the public need has changed.
Michael Prisco said he would rather allow the beer and wine license to expire. He doesn’t see the need for another license in that location. Manupelli said the board is pro–business but they’re not removing a business from town, Tedeschi’s was bought out by another company.
O’Leary noted there were some issues raised on the Fire Department’s inspection report of the premises and asked for additional information from the police department regarding traffic access and egress from the 4 Lowell Rd. location.