Zoning panel may change alcohol regulations

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Bars such as Peggy Fenn’s on Bridge Street in Naugatuck could see rival taverns move within 500 feet of them if the zoning commission successfully changes its policy.

NAUGATUCK — The zoning commission considered changes to its alcoholic beverage regulations at a meeting last Wednesday night.
The current regulations, written just after the end of prohibition, are archaic, Zoning Commission Chairman Joe Savarese said, adding he hopes to modernize the regulations to reflect current and future needs and encourage economic development.

The economic situation has changed since the zoning and planning commissions last looked at the section on alcoholic beverages about 10 years ago, Savarese said.

According to Savarese, the commission will probably delete the current regulations in section 44 which prohibits businesses from selling alcoholic beverages from within 500 feet of another establishment which serves alcoholic beverages; within 300 feet of a school, charity, hospital, library, or place of worship; or within 1,500 feet of another alcoholic retail or wholesaler unless it is licensed by the state under a grocery beer permit.

According to borough attorney Ned Fitzpatrick, the commission is on the right track in researching the policies of other towns to help form a plan for Naugatuck.

“I think your policies and philosophies seem to be appropriate with what we’re seeing the towns that have had successful developments in their downtown area,” Fitzpatrick said.

The commission hopes to make it easier for new businesses to obtain permits, while giving them the flexibility to prevent certain types of establishments in certain areas.

For example, Savarese said that he hoped to encourage more family oriented businesses, such as restaurants which serve alcohol, in the downtown area while allowing bars and clubs in other sections of town.

The commission also discussed the possibility of setting limits on buildings’ size, with establishments over about 25,000 feet requiring special permits.

Savarese said he hoped to wrap up the changes to regulations by January. The next public hearing on zoning changes to alcoholic beverage regulations will be December 15 at 6:45 p.m.