The Windsor Locks Planning and Zoning Commission Monday approved a moratorium on issuing new liquor permits from September 1 to March 1, 2013.
Commission Vice Chairman Alan Gannuscio said there are two reasons for the moratorium. One is the town’s regulations are old and need updating and revisions. The moratorium will give the commission and town staff time to consider the regulations without having to deal with new applications.
The second reason is the commission is the process of coming up with a new set of regulations for a Main Street overlay zone. The moratorium will give the commission flexibility to take that into account as well.
“The regulations were done some time ago,” Gannuscio said. “There have been changes in the town and the business community. This would buy us time for proper hearings.”
There are currently 35 liquor licenses in town, and on Monday the commission approved a beer and wine license for Pho 75, a restaurant on Ella Grasso Turnpike.
During the public hearing, two people spoke in favor of the moratorium, Gina Pastula and Frank D’Amato, both of Skyline Restaurant. Pastula said she supports the moratorium giving the commission time to do research.
“I’d like to give my opinion,” Pastula said. “I’d like to say the best people to get information from are those affected by it.”
D’Amato said he wants the commission to make sure it considers safety when it reviews the regulations.
“I’m not a religious guy,” D’Amato said. “When I wake up in the morning I pray please God let anyone who drinks at my restaurant tonight get home safely.”
Commission members did make one revision to the moratorium by making it affect only those seeking newer liquor licenses.
Mark Kulungian, owner of Pool Table Magic, said the provision that would include any changes to existing license-holders would cause problems for his business. Kulungian said his liquor license renewal is in November and under the moratorium that wouldn’t be allowed.
“I’m going to be punished financially and businesswise,” Kulungian said. “It’s a timing issue.”
Commission member Peter Juszczynski said including existing permit owners in the moratorium could have unintended consequences.
“Six months doesn’t seem like a long time but to a small business it could be devastating,” Juszczynski said.
Gannuscio said Kulungian made a valid point and he thinks there would be no downside in removing existing license-holders from the moratorium.