Threatened with legal action, restaurants now licensed

Feb 16, 2021

Update: As of Friday, Feb. 19, all of the restaurants that were operating without a license have now applied and paid for their licenses.

One week after the Select Board voted to send cease and desist letters to unlicensed restaurants in Dartmouth, just three businesses have failed to renew their licenses, according to Town Administrator Shawn MacInnes.

By last Monday, 12 establishments still had yet to apply for a common victualler license to operate in town this year, an issue select board members had called “an anomaly.”

“This is the first year I have seen these licenses not being renewed this late,” noted Select Board Vice Chair Shawn McDonald at a meeting in January.

But since then, said MacInnes, “most of the unlicensed businesses have come in to renew.”

A common victualler license costs $100 and allows businesses to cook, prepare and serve food.

Although MacInnes did not disclose which three of the dozen restaurants have not paid, he said they will be sent the letters this week “instructing them to renew within the next few days.”

The cease and desist letters will give the restaurants three days to apply and pay the $100 license fee or risk being shut down.

Select Board members had vowed to take action against non compliant restaurants at a meeting in January and again on Feb. 8.

The first notices to renew the licenses were sent out in October last year, with multiple others sent via both mail and email in the intervening months, according to town officials.

“We’ve spoon fed these people [for a] long time,” said Select Board Chair Frank Gracie III at the Feb. 8 meeting. “Enough is enough.”