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The License Board meets on Tuesday at City Hall.

North Adams License Board OKs Package Store Transfer, Licenses

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Licensing Board has approved the transfer of the package store license from Ed's Variety to Honey Beer & Wine Inc.
Matthew Porter, attorney for Honey Beer, and Sureshkumar Patel of Pittsfield appeared for the board on Tuesday. Porter said this would be a straightforward transfer. 
"Mr. Patel is the president of Honey Beer and Wine and he will also be the license manager," Porter said. "He has liquor license experience and owns another store in Williamstown. He is TIPS-certified and certainly understands the responsibility to come along with the sale of alcohol. There a no issues with any of his other licenses whatsoever."
All of his employees will be Training for Intervention Procedures certified as well, he said, and there were no planned alterations to the existing business. 
Chairman Jeffrey Polucci asked how Patel could be the manager of two locations. Porter acknowledged the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission has "come down harder recently" on multiple manager roles but not so much in cases where stores are closer in proximity. 
"Mr. Patel's focus will be on this location with an assistant manager over in Williamstown," he said. Patel recently purchased the Spirit Shop at 280 Cole Ave., Williamstown, as Raahi Liquor Inc.
Ed's Variety is located at 54 Union St., at the Five Corners. It had been McSheen's until purchased by Edward Newman in 1969; Richard Sheehan had owned it for about 25 years but kept the Ed's name. Sheehan had been trying to sell the business for some time and a sale two years ago fell through. 
The purchase is for $310,000 total, including inventory, with Honey Beer leasing the property from Honey North Adams LLC, which will hold the real estate.  
"So oftentimes when you're buying real estate and a business, you're setting up two separate entities," Porter said. "So you'll set up an LLC for your real estate, you'll set up a corporation to operate the business, and then there's a lease between the parties. For all intents and purposes, it's the same individual, it's just a way for them to split that off for tax purposes."
The board also approved an alteration of premise for Mohawk Hospitality LLC, doing business locally as Porches Inn at 231 River St., that will extend the inn's alcohol license to the new reception building on Veazie Street. Board members, however, asked for an amendment that would more clearly show the parcel's position relative to the current inn, saying the floor plan provided did not do that, and that the application be amended to more clearly show position in the management agreement. 
"That would be very helpful to show us what exists, what you're adding," said Polucci.
"I'm confused and having a problem understanding how when this goes to the state, we're licensing to 231 River, but in reality we have to license 10 Veazie," said Dickinson.
"I think what happened was the the exhibits that you're looking at from the legal description is pertinent to a management agreement," said attorney Dennis G. Egan Jr. "And since the date of that the management agreement, this parcel came into ownership, that it appears that the management agreement was not updated to include it."
Berkshire Hills Development Co. LLC had purchased four parcels along Veazie Street two years and demolished two buildings on them to make room for a gathering center for Porches' customers. From a technical perspective, said Egan, the parcel at 10 Veazie is being added as part of the premises for the license. The Porches property along River Street is a bundle of separate parcels. 
Abuttors to the inn attended over concerns of noise or partying at the new venue. General Manager Melahat Karakaya said the space would be open only to inn guests and would be used for private events, largely with Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, and to serve breakfast. 
"It will never become a restaurant, we don't have a full kitchen at all," she said. "There is the catering kitchen, which can do catered events, is long as its for the guests who will stay at the Porches. It doesn't really accept the people from outside to come there."
It was possible, should there be an after or pre-party for a wedding at nearby Mass MoCA, that some guests from other hotels might attend — but they would have no parking spots, since those available were only for guests, Karakaya.
"Basically even in our contracts, we have the North Adams noise ordinance, which actually lets them know that in the event if anybody breaks the noise ordinance by 10 p.m., it can be shut down regardless of the contract," she said, adding that the inn did not want its other guests to be disturbed either. She encouraged neighbors bothered by noise to contact the hotel or the police directly. 
In other business, the board:  
Approved two one-day licenses for Greylock Works. The first is for a masquerade party on Saturday, Nov. 2, and the second for the annual Festive artisan fair on Saturday, Nov. 23. The masquerade hours are 8 to midnight and the fair from 10 to 4. 
Owner Salvatore Perry said the events will run the same as in the past with security checking identification for admission to the 21 and older Halloween party. 
"During the day on the Festive market, it's a family oriented event, so we will be stamping or providing wristbands for people who are 21 and would like to drink," he said. He confirmed that the rum distillery's pouring room will be open during both events but not to the general public during the Halloween party; a ticket would be required for entrance. The tasting room also has different hours on its license. 
• Approved an entertainment license for the Norad Mill. The mill, which houses an array of businesses, also has a reception area called 3 West that can be used for events such as receptions, craft fairs, performances and weddings. The license was approved for 7 a.m. to midnight.
"They specified that they realized that if any alcoholic were to be done, it would be through a one-day license or if the person had a catering license, they would come in," said Dickinson.
Polucci asked Dickinson to respond that the mill should ensure the windows are closed during events to reduce any noise issues with the neighbors. 
• Briefly discussed the status of Draper's Wine And Spirits, which closed a few months ago. The board wishes to know the intentions of the owner in order to preserve the license. The city by statute should only have three all-alcohol licenses but this fourth one is grandfathered and the board does not wish to lose it.

Tags: license board,   alcohol license,   

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North Adams Fire Chief Meranti to Retire

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

Fire Chief Stephen Meranti, center, with the late Public Safety Commissioner E. John Morocco on receiving the MEMA award in 2015. 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Stephen Meranti had a particular goal in mind when he updated his resume in the mid-1990s: to become director of the city's fire services.
Early next year, he'll retire after 17 years leading the North Adams Fire Department and as the first "fire chief" to retire in nearly 40 years. 
"I've had a pretty good run I think, 33 years with the city and 17 as chief," said Meranti on Wednesday morning, as he sat in the mayor's office. "It's been a good run, we have great people working with the city, I've had made great relationships here. It's like the mayor said, bittersweet for me also. I love the job I but I had planned on my career retiring at 55 and here I am." 
Meranti and Mayor Thomas Bernard announced the chief's retirement after more than three decades working with the city. His last day will be Jan. 26, 2021.
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