Saturday April 20, 2013

WILMINGTON -- The Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce requested a permit to serve alcohol during July 4 fireworks, but the police chief did not think it was a good idea.

"There's a lot of control in place by volunteers," said Selectboard member Susie Haughwout. "They're told what to do ... People can't leave the grounds with alcohol."

She likened the event to when the Wine and Harvest Festival moved to Mount Snow and also told the board she appreciated what Wilmington Police Chief Joe Szarejko had to say about it. He had recommended the board vote against the permitting of alcohol at the event.

Haughwout suggested the board wait for Adam Grinold, the chamber's executive director, and Szarejko to come and speak at a meeting.

The event in question is scheduled to be held at the tennis courts by the Twin Valley High School, which is property owned by the town.

Haughwout thought that this could be a draw to bring more people out for the fireworks, an event that might spark some economic development.

Selectboard member Jim Burke informed the board that people who will be serving at the event would be trained by a nearby business. Also, those who are over 21 years old would be given a bracelet, so servers would know who is of age.

Burke had suggested that the board hear from Wilmington Fire Chief Ken March. He could give some insight on maximum occupancy for the tennis courts.

Selectboard member Jake White had given the matter some thought and consideration.

"At first, I said, ‘No.' Then I thought we're trying to make the town better to make people come. By saying no, that's a negative. If it's controlled, it might be acceptable as long as there are limits to what they can do. As long as people cannot bring their alcohol to the field ... and they keep it in a confined space," said White.

Selectboard Chairwoman Meg Streeter said that when an issue like this is brought up and a denial for the request could be possible, the applicants typically show up. She thought that since Szarejko had advised against it, the board should wait to hear from him and Grinold.

"Good points, everybody," said Streeter. "We'll save our points for next week and we'll ask (Szarejko) and (Grinold) to come. Maybe we'll have (Szarejko) ask (March) about the fire situation."

The board had also discussed other events in the past where alcohol had been served in town. No one could recall any major incidents or issues.

Chapman thought that if the prices were a little higher, it would keep people from overindulging.

"My advice is, if they get out of control, we lock the courts and let them have at it," joked Burke.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.