City Takes Control of Licensing Board

Legislation that allows the City of Boston to establish its own Licensing Board has been signed by Governor Deval Patrick.

Since 1906, governors have appointed members to a state-controlled board. The bill eliminates that board, allowing Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh to nominate members to serve on the board.

The City Council has the authority to approve the Mayor’s selections.

North End/Waterfront neighborhood organizations and other residents, over the years, were not always pleased with the old board, claiming the state controlled board was not on the same page with them, constantly voting against their opposition to many requests relating to the neighborhood.

“The Boston Licensing Board makes municipal-level policy decisions around the issuance and regulation of food, alcohol, and other licenses that impact our neighborhoods and local businesses. The Licensing Board is a function of local government, but due to an antiquated state law, the Governor of Massachusetts has been appointing Board members in Boston since 1906,” according to Melinda Schuler, Senior Media Liaison for Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “The economic development legislation that Governor Patrick has signed corrects this anomaly, bringing the City of Boston in line with every other city and town in Massachusetts, which have the authority to appoint their licensing board members locally. In recognition of the great responsibility that comes along with this historic shift, the Mayor’s decision-making process involving the board will be measured and methodical to ensure that this is done right the first time.”

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