In North Attleborough, there is a law that says drinking alcohol on public property–such as in front of Town Hall—is strictly forbidden.
This law, known as Section 7A of the Police Regulations bylaws, was written in 1976. Now, after 46 years since its inception, it might see a significant change in its language and enactment.
The Town Council referred a measure to the Bylaws Committee at its meeting on Monday, Sept. 12, to modify the section to allow for the consumption of alcoholic beverages on public property, but only during specific periods and only if the vendor submits appropriate licensing approved by the town’s Licensing Board.
Town Manager Michael Borg said this process would follow the Massachusetts General Laws, and other municipalities have established similar language allowing the consumption and selling of alcoholic beverages in public areas.
“This would be able for us to say yes as long as the licensing is correct,” Borg told the council. “What we are doing is seeking to work with KP Law to change the verbiage in the language.”
KP Law is a firm that has worked with the town of North Attleborough on issues that involve the Town Charter and bylaws. The firm has helped the town in interpreting the charter–the town’s equivalent of a constitution—to understand the wording and enforceability of some laws.
Borg said the change in the law could help the town during the holiday season as wines, ciders, and eggnog become more available for consumers and for vendors to sell.
“This would help us during the Christmas market,” he said. “We would first send this to the Bylaw Subcommittee before the council gets a final vote.”
Councilor Mark Gould asked Borg at the meeting about the stance police officers have taken about this potential change. Borg assured Gould and the rest of the council that the NAPD would be on board with this change as long as vendors have the proper approval from the town licensing board.
Councilor Andrea Slobogan expressed support for the change in the language, saying it could help vendors sell more commerce at the town’s weekly farmers market. Slobogan is the co-chair of the market and is responsible for ensuring vendors can sell their products and earn capital.
“It would allow for wine tastings at the market,” Slobogan said. “This will bring more commerce and growth for our vendors in the town.”