Aquinnah selectmen voted last week to issue the first beer and wine license in town to the Outermost Inn.
Inn owner Hugh Taylor still must wait for a background check to be completed by the state alcohol beverages control commission, which is expected to take several weeks.
Mr. Taylor was the sole person attending a public hearing last Tuesday conducted by the selectmen.
At their annual town meeting in May Aquinnah voters took the final step to approve limited beer and wine sales for restaurants that serve at least 30 patrons. The initiative began last year as a home rule petition in the state legislature. Only two restaurants in town qualify — the Outermost and the Aquinnah Restaurant at the Cliffs, which is owned by the Vanderhoop family.
Last Tuesday selectmen read into the record a letter of opposition to the license from abutters Mark and Martha Hurwitz, who also live in Barre.
“The applicant’s property, once a residence, has now morphed and continually expanded into a commercial enterprise . . . A full service restaurant was not what we envisioned as neighbors, when the applicant was granted permission to operate a limited bed and breakfast,” the neighbors wrote.
Mr. Taylor said the liquor license may in fact diminish potentially objectionable activity. “We will be able to control what’s poured which we can’t do now with alcohol brought in by guests. I haven’t seen Mark for years but if he were here today, I would tell him that,” he said.
The only other letter, from Kate Taylor, Mr. Taylor’s sister and neighbor, supported the license but asked the board to consider efforts to reduce noise. Ms. Taylor also requested hearings be held if changes in seating capacity and hours of operation are planned.
Mr. Taylor said he had spoken to his sister that morning. “I understand her feelings. She’s objecting to an old whaling game, a sort of ring toss game we have outside. It’s hard to do and sometimes people yell when they’re successful. We can take care of that,” he said.