Majority of School Com backs the plan
A majority of School Committee members expressed support this week for Shipwreck’d owners Adrian Muir’s and Susie Regan’s plan to go before the Select Board to start the process of requesting approval to make their outdoor patio a permanent feature.
The outdoor seating was initially approved under Gov. Charlie Baker’s expedited approval process to help businesses during the pandemic by allowing them to create such areas in a less cumbersome way than through the normal town review process.
In late 2019, as part of exploring the possibility of applying for a seasonal full-alcohol license, Muir and Regan first approached school officials to gauge their reaction because of the restaurant’s close proximity to Hull High School.
After several conversations with then-School Superintendent Michael Devine and at School Committee meetings, during which school officials’ concerns and questions were addressed, the committee voted unanimously at that time to support the owners’ proposal to potentially seek a liquor license.
In December 2019, the Select Board approved a new seasonal all-alcohol license for Shipwreck’d after determining – based in large part on supportive input from the School Committee and Devine reflecting earlier off-season closing hours so as not to overlap with school sports and other events – that granting such a license would not have a negative impact on the educational activities of nearby Hull High School.
At that time, school officials also requested a one-year look-back, during which any potential issues could be addressed.
Under state law, when the location of a proposed liquor license is within a radius of 500 feet of a school, as is the case with Shipwreck’d, it must first be determined that there would be no detrimental effect on the school’s educational activities.
That requirement is why Muir and Regan went before the School Committee this week to share what they have in mind.
Responding to concerns expressed at the meeting about the umbrellas on the patio featuring the names of liquor companies, Muir agreed to take them down because the restaurant is located close to the high school.
If the request to make the patio a regular feature at the eatery gains the necessary approvals, the plan is to improve the fencing surrounding the area and to install a sun shade, he said.
Stephanie Peters was the sole member to vote against the couple’s proposal to make the patio permanent. “I guess I’m a bit of a Debbie Downer,” she said, noting that some parents have expressed concerns to her that the liquor “refilling” station near the patio has become a sort of outside bar. “This has affected the feel of the pier,” she said. “The state has this law for a reason.”
While generally supportive of the restaurant, Peters said she did not vote in favor of starting the process of requesting the approval to make the patio permanent because she does not know enough about the plan.
Member Jennifer Fleming expressed appreciation for Shipwreck’d’s “family atmosphere. It’s a nice vibe for the town and good for the community as a whole,” she said.
It was noted that the restaurant employs primarily Hull students and parents.