Opposition from abutters Nicole and Chris Thornton of 65 Emily Lane led selectmen at their March 18 public hearing to delay voting on the license. Since the hearing, selectmen visited the property to note the clubhouse’s proximity to the Thorntons’ home and considered the neighbors’ objections before reaching their decision.
The Thorntons said their main concern is that while the golf course was allowed to be considered open space for passive recreation in a bylaw approved in 2006, the permission to grant a liquor license on the property changed that passive use.
“I don’t see how the award of a liquor license does anything to further that intent,” Chris Thornton told selectmen last week. “In fact, I think there are plenty of reasons why you can say it takes away from that intent.”
Nicole Thornton said she felt a liquor license would create undue noise and encourage crowds to gather and linger to drink, putting children and those walking dogs in harm’s way when patrons who had been drinking left the clubhouse.
“And quite frankly, it’s not something I want in my backyard,” she said, adding that she believed her property value would be drastically affected by the license.
The Thorntons’ neighbors at 61 Emily Lane also opposed the license. But other neighbors, including abutter Cheryl Murtagh of 209 Dodge Road and Roy Brandano of 75 Emily Lane, supported the country club’s operation and the issuance of the license.
Selectmen ultimately gave their unanimous approval.
“We are condemning Mr. Page before giving him a chance to run his operation,” Selectmen Vice Chairman Bob Merry said. “He has to come back to us next year to renew the license. If there are any complaints at that time, we will take that into consideration before re-issuing the license.”