EASTHAM — The select board voted 3-1 on Nov. 25 to approve the renewal of the liquor license for Stewart’s Restaurant on Route 6 despite questions about the character of the owner, William Stewart.
Stewart was accused of sexual harassment by former female employees more than a year ago and is scheduled to be tried on the resulting charges this winter.
Eastham police filed a request for a magistrate hearing on allegations of threats to commit a crime, accosting a person of the opposite sex, and assault and battery in September 2018. A magistrate’s hearing in November 2018 found probable cause to issue a complaint against Stewart for those allegations. A trial date is set for February 2020.
“I think at this point we don’t have a legal reason to deny the license,” Town Administrator Jacqui Beebe told the select board.
If Stewart is convicted, the board can revisit its decision and vote to revoke the liquor license, based on a state provision saying the licensing authority has discretion to determine whether the applicant is of “good character.”
“The board could consider that a criminal conviction would be a disqualifier,” Beebe said.
The select board held two public meetings on Nov. 16 and Nov. 21 to gather input on the Woods Hole Group’s shark mitigation study and the general topic of sharks and seals.
Board member Jamie Rivers said that residents frequently ask about liability. They want to understand the liability involved should the town implement safety measures.
Town Administrator Beebe said that a $100,000 cap on the town’s legal liability for incidents like a shark attack might be affected by mitigation efforts.
“If we take action that promotes a sense of safety, and then something happens to someone, that would remove that cap,” Beebe said. Even a pilot program would carry that liability risk, unless every swimmer signed a release waiver.
“So I think the issue for towns is that we have to be sure that the product or the barrier or whatever we’re using really works and we’re confident about it and we have enough of the technology and the staff and whatever’s needed to ensure that as a safe zone,” Beebe said.
The Eastham Chamber of Commerce will host the Eastham Holiday Festival at the Elks Lodge on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Activities will include holiday crafts, face painting, balloon twisters, raffles, kids’ performance demonstrations, free pizza from Red Barn Pizza, and visits with Santa. Free trolley rides will run from the Elks Lodge to the Red Barn. All are welcome.
The select board appointed Catherine Mondon to the board of health and Johnathan Rowe to the old towne center historic district commission. Ed Cestaro resigned from the harbor planning committee and Joan Matern resigned from the human services advisory committee.
The select board appointed Paula Bruns to the board of directors of the council on aging and Stephen Zbell to the finance committee. The board also appointed Janet Benjamin and Trent Sullivan as conservation commission representative to the 1651 forest advisory committee and the harbor planning committee, respectively.
Christopher McPherson resigned from the harbor planning committee.
Take the Survey
The town is updating its local hazard mitigation plan and is seeking feedback from residents via a public survey.
For more information and to take the survey, visit eastham-ma.gov/home/news/hazard-mitigation-plan-update-public-survey. —Ryan Fitzgerald