By Charlie Breitrose
On May 14, the Town Council approved an effort to request more liquor licenses for Watertown from the state legislature, but not everyone on the board supported the idea.
The request for 15 additional liquor licenses came after a request from the representatives of Arsenal Yards. The developers, Boylston Properties and The Wilder Cos., anticipate that at least 14 licenses will be needed for all the restaurants and other retailers coming to the development.
Town Council President Mark Sideris said the situation is not unlike the project at Assembly Row in Somerville.
“The project became much more than they thought it would be,” Sideris said. “It continues to evolve.”
Town Councilor Susan Falkoff said she was bothered by the concentration of liquor licenses.
“I have a hard time seeing why we need that many in one area,” Falkoff said.
Councilor Angeline Kounelis said she opposed the idea because she worries that Arsenal Yards will become a “city within a city” with residents and workers not leaving the area. She fears that as a result will be that established restaurants will suffer and may close.
The request must now be approved by the State Legislature. Watertown previously got approval for 15 additional licenses in 2016 to encourage economic development in certain areas in town. Six of those remain unused, but the Council did not want all the unused licenses to be taken up by Arsenal Yards, so they increased the request by six licenses.