Despite strong, and vocal, objections from a few neighboring residents, on Monday, the Board of Selectmen granted the the right to serve beer and wine.
“Thank you for your patience and your excellent business,” board chairman Kevin Greeley told the movie theater’s owner, Richard Fraiman, “and I hope this helps your business.”
The board approved Fraiman’s application, which was made possible by , in a 4-1 vote.
Selectman Diane Mahon voted against the motion because she said too many teenagers and kids go to the theater for it to serve alcohol. “I don’t see the need,” she said.
Fraiman also owns the Somerville Theatre in Davis Square, which does serve alcohol. He said there have been no incidents at that location.
A few neighboring residents on Freeman Street, which runs behind the East Arlington theater, voiced much stronger opposition than Mahon. They said moviegoers already drop trash on their lawns and take up parking spots in their neighborhood, and they expected all of this to get worse if alcohol became a factor.
“I can deal with candy wrappers,” one woman said. “I cannot deal with drunks coming out of the theater.”
“I liked it when the town was dry,” she added.
The woman also said that she didn’t see the need, especially since nearby restaurants already serve alcohol, and she questioned whether the theater would be able to stop an adult from buying a drink and then passing it to a minor in a dark theater.
Fraiman said he took exception to the residents’ comments. “I think we’ve always tried to be good neighbors,” he said.
The neighboring residents spoke out of turn during the discussion. After Selectman Steven Byrne said he supported the change, one shouted out, “When do you come up for re-election?”