Published in the September 16, 2015 edition
By MAUREEN DOHERTY
LYNNFIELD — A compromise agreement was reached between the Yard House and the Board of Selectmen concerning allegations of excessive amounts of alcohol served to patrons on two separate occasions in May.
The board agreed to issue a “warning” to the Yard House rather than findings of a violation of alcoholic beverage licensing laws in both incidents on May 1 and May 9. The Yard House agreed to “employ a police detail from the Lynnfield Police Department every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night for at least the next two years, assuming availability of detail officers.”
The agreement hammered out between Yard House attorney Timothy Perry and Town Counsel Thomas Mullen further notes that in issuing this warning the Yard House “must take the greatest care to ensure that patrons are not served an excessive amount of alcohol in the future. Should there be such violations in the future, the board will take into account in determining an appropriate sanction that the Yard House had the benefit of this explicit warning.”
Mullen advised the board that this would be as good as they could get because the Yard House would appeal any violation of their liquor license to the ABCC where the town would likely have an uphill battle proving its case.
“The ABCC requires strong evidence and often eyewitness testimony to uphold a suspension of even one day,” Mullen said.
In the first incident, an intoxicated man was found in a rear parking lot searching for his car. He was prevented from driving by a Yard House manager until MarketStreet security and a local police officer working detail at MarketStreet showed up. The man claimed he had been drinking at the Yard House but no one at the restaurant recalled seeing him and there was no record of him purchasing anything from the restaurant. He was also not charged with any crime.
In the second incident, a patron who arrived with two friends and were each served one Bud Lite apiece passed out at the bar less than 30 minutes after his arrival. Police were called to assist in what became a medical aid call and the patron was removed by ambulance. He was also not charged with any crime.
The selectmen had hoped to hold a license suspension in abeyance for two years and have the Yard House agree to police details on their three busiest nights of the week in perpetuity.
“It is obviously not what we were looking for,” commented Selectmen Chairman Phil Crawford, who added, “I believe having these details there for at least two years and possibly longer is better for the town than us fighting it.”
Town Administrator Jim Boudreau advised the selectmen “the real risk if they appeal and win is there is no detail. This is the best Tom could do….it represents a lot of work.”
Selectman Tom Terranova asked Police Chief Dave Breen how the police details have been working out at the Yard House during the past month.
Breen said there have not been any issues at the Yard House. “I have been pleased by what has transpired since the last meeting with you,” Breen said.
“We certainly wanted to have that detail in perpetuity,” Selectman Chris Barrett said, but he added, “It is good to have it at least for two years and if there is a violation we can call them back again.”