LIVERMORE FALLS – Selectmen voted 3-1 to look into a waiver for a 30-day extension of a liquor renewal license for the River View Pub so an agreement can be drawn up to address concerns raised during a public hearing Monday.
Board members said they don’t want to shut down Wes Bowen’s bar, but they want to protect the public and improve the environment. Selectman Michael Collins was the dissenter in the vote.
Chairman Ken Jacques abstained because he owns property across from the bar and has spoken to Bowen several times about what is going on outside the bar.
Police Lt. Thomas Gould said Monday that the police force doesn’t have the manpower to handle all the incidents he claimed are related to the bar and its patrons.
He said police believe there was an assault outside the bar last week.
Gould said that in the past year there have been 37 complaints of incidents in or around the facility. Of that number, 13 were in the past 30 days. There have been 12 assaults with six of them happening within the past 30 days.
“There were two fights back-to-back this weekend and we just don’t have the manpower,” he said.
Among the complaints over the past year were fistfights, harassments, vandalism, thefts and disorderly conduct, he said. There have been serious injuries in at least one fight and a couple of unconscious males in two others.
Gould said by the time police are called to respond to a fight and arrive, most of the patrons are outside the bar.
Matt Levesque, 22, who was found bleeding near the bar Thursday night, said Monday he was served several drinks with multiple shots of liquor and had a high alcohol blood level after he was found outside unconscious near the bar.
Bowen disputed how many drinks and the number of shots Levesque was served, and said Levesque was shut off and given coffee before he left the bar.
“We can’t stop them from leaving,” Bowen said.
He said the incident with Levesque happened near the police station and not near the bar. He added that he didn’t feel that all the complaints were because of the bar.
Laurie Knight, who attended Monday’s meeting, said that people standing outside the bar are a hazard at times for people driving by.
She also asked about accountability of bar employees serving people who are intoxicated. People used to feel safe walking down the street near the bar but don’t anymore, she said.
Jacques said there have been broken bottles, glass and vandalism in his parking lot.
Bowen said there are no glasses or bottles coming out of his place; that people must be drinking in their vehicles. He has five people on duty on busy nights, he said, with one person patrolling outside.
Bowen also said there are no fights inside the bar.
Selectmen Russell Flagg said the fights start inside the bar and go outside.
Some of it is alcohol-related and some stems from personal issues, Bowen said.
Flagg suggested police, Bowen and the town manager draft guidelines to remedy the situation.
Jacques and Flagg both said they don’t want to shut the bar down, but they want to improve the environment.
A few people make it bad, Jacques said.