Restaurant nearly gets license revoked due to barrier safety concerns

Sep 15, 2020

A Dartmouth restaurant nearly had its license to serve food revoked for not adhering to safety guidelines with its outdoor seating barriers, according to Select Board Chair Frank Gracie III.

Gracie spoke at a Select Board meeting on Sept. 14 about light wooden planters acting as barriers to the outdoor dining area at Fay’s Restaurant on Dartmouth Street. 

Barriers must be heavy enough to stop a car, Gracie noted, adding that safety is paramount — especially given an accident just hours earlier in which a woman drove a vehicle into Town Hall.

“If that happens in Fay’s parking lot, somebody could end up getting killed,” he said.

Town Safety Officer Joe Vieira and attorney Walter Faria stated that Fay’s had already begun work to comply with the guidelines, adding cement blocks to increase the weight of the planters and linking them together with steel piping to build a sort of wall.

Faria stated the job would be finished on Sept. 15.

“Fay’s has been in business in Dartmouth successfully, and they pride themselves on having an establishment that’s not only safe and clean, but something that the town can be proud of,” he said.

Select Board member Stanley Mickelson noted that 116,000 restaurants are expected to go out of business across the country this year. 

“We don’t want any of our restaurants going out of business,” he said, adding that outside dining has “created an enormous amount of revenue for the restaurants.”

“This is much more pleasant than what could have happened with the resistance that I was getting,” said Gracie of Fay’s response.

Town Administrator Shawn MacInnes also informed the board that the China Belle restaurant on State Road has closed, so its liquor license will not be renewed for next year.

At the same meeting, the board heard that the town’s bylaw banning the use of plastic bags has been back in effect since July 10.

“Some businesses may not be fully aware of it,” MacInnes said.

The board voted to notify businesses that enforcement of the bylaw would start on Nov. 1, while also encouraging them to make the switch as soon as possible.

Notice will also be given that reusable bags are allowed again following a recent change in state guidelines.

MacInnes also told board members that Dartmouth will receive $200,000 — the maximum amount allowed — in Green Communities Grant funding.

The grant will be presented in a small ceremony on Sept. 17 at the Bucket that will include state government officials Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Kathleen Theoharides.

A majority of the funds ($123,581) will be spent on a steam and hot water heating system conversion for Dartmouth Middle School, while the rest will go to LED lighting and weatherization for DCTV, the Bucket, Smith Neck Recreation Center, and the Council on Aging.

The board also appointed board member Shawn McDonald and resident Brock Cordeiro to the Dartmouth Charter Review Committee, which will review the town’s charter and recommend changes to Town Meeting in October 2021.