Exeter denies bar request

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Aldermen say residents' opposition too strong

Residents of the city of Exeter made their voices heard over the past month, as the city's aldermen refused to amend an ordinance to allow a bar inside the city's limits.

The city council voted unanimously on April 9 to leave the ordinance written as-is.

In March, Walter Berry, of Exeter, requested the city amend an ordinance and remove a clause making it illegal to sell alcohol that may be consumed on-site.

He had hoped to open a bar on East Commercial Street, which would have been the first inside city limits since the early 1960s.

Rhonda Scott, alderwoman for Exeter, said she received a lot of comments from residents about the proposed bar.

"I have had a lot of people voice their opinions and concerns," she said. "And of the people who have voiced their opinions, not one has been in favor of it."

Alderman Jim Morse said he received about 30 comments in opposition to the bar.

"I feel I should represent the people who put me here [on the city council]," he said. "And, they do not want it."

Berry said he had hoped to open the establishment, but understands the residents' concerns.

"If people don't want it, that's fine with me," he said. "I don't want to push anything on them that they don't want."

The ordinance pertaining to liquor licenses in Exeter states the city may only issue one liquor license per each 500 residents. With a population of just over 700, one license has been issued to the L&L Stop and Shop, but a second license has not been issued.

The ordinance also prohibits any establishment from selling alcohol that may be consumed on-site, which is language the council would have to strike or amend for any proposed bar to be legal.

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