Can New Seabury Country Club Be Closed And Still Have Events?
By: Geoff Spillane
A decades-long practice by the Town of Mashpee to allow the New Seabury Country Club to close for the winter months for cleaning and renovation, while functions and events continue to be held at the establishment, has not been conducted in compliance with Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission regulations.
Town Manager Joyce M. Mason said the town will change its practice to comply with the regulations.
The Mashpee Board of Selectmen serves as the authority for issuing and governing liquor licenses in town. At its December 3, 2012, meeting, the board unanimously approved a request to close the club from January 2 through March 15 for “painting, cleaning, steam cleaning the kitchen hoods and having the carpets replaced.” The request came from Stephen T. Brennan, general manager and chief operating officer of New Seabury Properties LLC. The club makes a similar request to close each year.
However, last week a fundraising dinner event featuring new Red Sox manager John Farrell was held at the club, while earlier this week a Mashpee Women’s Club luncheon and a Mashpee Congregational Church dinner were also held there. A bridal show is scheduled to be held at the venue on February 10.
A section of Massachusetts General Law Chapter 138, which governs the sale of alcoholic beverages in the commonwealth, states that “whenever the local licensing authorities deny an application for a new license, refuse to issue a license or modify, suspend, revoke or cancel a license, deny an application for transfer of location or between persons or change of a description of the licensed premises, or levy a fine, the licensing authorities shall mail a notice of such action to the applicant or licensee, stating the reasons for such action and shall at the same time mail a copy of such notice to the commission.”
A spokesperson for the ABCC, who requested anonymity citing the potential involvement by the agency in an appeals process, said earlier this week that the agency has never been notified of any modification of the New Seabury license. In addition, the spokesperson said that even if a closing had been approved by the selectmen, the club would have to appear before the board to receive approval to reopen for each scheduled event, which in turn, would also need to be reported to the ABCC.
Ms. Mason said that the town was not aware of the ABCC regulations but would immediately begin to comply with the directive.
“We will notify them from this moment forward with any move or action we take with liquor licenses,” Ms. Mason said, adding that she will be asking Mr. Brennan to submit an amended closing request, as well as a list of functions scheduled at the club before it is scheduled to reopen in March.
While the board of selectmen serves as the town’s licensing authority, Ms. Mason is assuming responsibility for the oversight. “I will take full responsibility. It is my job. We considered these actions to be local policies. We weren’t aware of the regulations, but now we are and will be happy to comply,” she said.
According to the ABCC spokesperson, it is unlikely that the commission will take action against the town or the licensee if both parties remedy the issue and adhere to rules and regulations from this point forward.
Mr. Brennan did not return a call for comment.
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