MEXICO – Despite a desire last week to help people who live beside a Roxbury Road bar, selectmen unanimously, but conditionally, OK’d Tommy Guns Pit Stop’s liquor license renewal.
First, though, a verbal confrontation erupted between neighbor Linda Collins and Tommy Guns owner Clarence “Tommy” Tompkins during the public hearing on the license.
It was much like what happened in 2004, only lawyers were involved then and selectmen first denied the bar’s liquor license, then changed their vote when pressured by the state.
At Wednesday night’s board meeting, Tompkins was told about complaints that the bar wasn’t closing its outside deck at 9 p.m. as required by selectmen in stipulations issued in 2004.
Tompkins conceded the deck might have been open late a few times, but only because the bartender was busy, and patrons were smoking, not drinking alcohol.
“According to my lawyer, when it gets outside, it’s out of my hands,” Tompkins said.
But Town Manager John Madigan reminded Tompkins of the 2004 agreement, in which Tompkins sacrificed the bar’s entertainment license to keep its liquor license.
At that board meeting on May 24, 2004, then-Vice Chairwoman Barbara Laramee stipulated that Tompkins and Tommy Guns must abide by these conditions:
• The deck will close at 9 p.m.
• The application for a special amusement permit will be withdrawn.
• The bass on the jukebox will be adjusted downward to control reverberation.
• Tompkins, or a designated person in charge when Tompkins is not on the premises, will be outside at closing until patrons disperse, and at other times when there is a crowd making noise outside the premises.
That 2004 motion was OK’d by a 3-1 vote.
Fast forward to last Wednesday night’s board meeting.
“Every night since the weather has gotten better, I’ve gone by there at 9:30 at night or 20 minutes of 10 and, if people are only out there (on the deck) smoking, they shouldn’t have beer bottles in their hands and be out there drinking,” said former Selectman Reggie Arsenault.
Collins, 53, launched the second salvo.
“I’ve been fighting this for five years, but the police will not cooperate with us. You guys will not cooperate with us,” she said to selectmen.
She lives opposite the bar at 68 Roxbury Road, also called Route 17.
“I can’t open our windows and I can’t have people on my deck because of the vulgar language coming from the bar. … This screaming and hollering starts at 4 o’clock in the afternoon and continues all evening,” she added.
Madigan apologized for police Chief Jim Theriault’s absence, saying he was away due to a death in the family.
Then, after Madigan read Laramee’s 2004 motion and conditions, Collins told Tompkins that she didn’t mind if he kept the liquor license.
“I just want you to have compassion for me and my daughter. She’s 12 years old and she shouldn’t have to listen to this … I urge you to get things under control,” Collins told him.
Laramee interrupted again, saying selectmen and police need to get more involved at Tommy Guns. But, Laramee also admitted that selectmen could only do so much, legally.
Tompkins agreed to make it a habit to call the bartender if he can’t be there by 9 p.m. to ensure that the deck is closed to patrons. He also owns and operates The Shak, a Rumford bar.
After more discussion, selectmen voted 4-0, approving the license renewal. That elicited another round from Collins, upset then that selectmen granted the license.