Question of the Day: Should Needham Stay Dry?

Tell us your opinion in the comments.

Two weeks ago, the Needham Board of Selectmen began a about whether wine and beer shops should be allowed in Needham.

The town has been essentially dry since before Prohibition, and to this day only allows limited sale of alcohol in restaurants with more than 100 seats and for special one-day events with the appropriate licensure. The only bar in town that is not part of a restaurant is at the , which was allowed under the town's 1960s hotels exception.

The latest question of whether Needham should allow wine and beer to be sold in local stores was brought forward by the Council of Economic Advisors, which has received requests from several entrepreneurs looking to start such a business in town. No decision has been made, and the council has said it would like to put out a survey of Needham residents to weigh public opinion.

So what do you think? Should Needham allow the sale of beer, wine or even liquor? Should bars be allowed to open in town? Or should Needham hang on to its "dry" status?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Question of the Day is a new feature at Needham Patch that asks readers their views on a variety of topics each weekday. Have a question you'd like to see asked? Submit it to editor Becca Manning

Scott Brightman June 27, 2011 at 05:15 PM
Allowing alcohol consumption in restaurants that people drive to but disallowing sales that enable alcohol to be consumed safely at home seems backwards. Right now I drive right through Needham to purchase in Newton. Why not drive consumer traffic to Needham Center? As for limiting sales to not include spirits -why? All this does is help Newton's businesses rather than our own. To assume having alcohol available will promote usage is silly. The only thing we're promoting now is automobile millage.
Michael Labrecque June 28, 2011 at 12:36 PM
How are package stores going to increase revenue? Through sales taxes? Through Business Taxes? Increased fines related to DUI? If Needham is going to change from dry to wet, I would like to see a better rational than increased revenue, as we can increase revenue through a number of other means, that don't have unintended negative consequences. Increased access to alcohol will increase alcohol usage within the borders of Needham. Increased usage leads to all sorts of increased costs, public and private, that all people living in Needham will have to bear, including increased insurance costs. If entrepreneurs are interested in setting up shop in Needham, there are plenty of other things to sell besides alcohol.
Heather July 03, 2011 at 11:32 AM
Having a nice wine shop with perhaps a small selection of gourmet foods would be a welcome addition and serve to increase traffic to our town's other business as well as elevate the look and feel of our downtown. It could even draw other stores like a cheese shop or other upscale offerings. And I highly doubt our teens are going to be "cruising" in front, trying to get their hands on a bottle of bordeaux. However, a "discount liquors" type of place would obviously have the opposite impact on our downtown. Really it comes down to the tone and tenor of the establishment the board is approving.


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