The Parks and Recreation Commission took another swing Wednesday at whether to allow alcohol sales at the halfway house on Longshore Golf Course, but hoping to avoid rough patches in the future, held off until consulting a lawyer.
"It's a state law," said Westport resident David Levin. "Once you have a facility in place, you're not allowed to bring liquor on the premises."
So if the panel approves the sale of alcohol at the halfway house, it would mean that Longshore golfers who enjoy toting their own alcoholic beverages onto the course during playtime could no longer do so.
"I don't see how you can stop people from bringing it on," said Commissioner Stuart Rogan. "We can't seem to stop people from putting it in their golf bags."
"I don't think we have the ability to police anything down there," said Chairman Charles Haberstroh.
"You just tell people it's policy," argued Fred Hunter, chairman of the Golf Advisory Committee, which recommended support of Parks and Recreation Director Stuart McCarthy's application for a zoning variance to allow liquor to be sold at Cliff's Place, the halfway house situated by the links' ninth-hole green. Located within a residential zone like the rest of the Longshore course, Cliff's Place is managed by Joey Romeo, who also operates Joey's By the Sea at Compo Beach.
"If you take a look at any one of the other regional golf course ... They all have halfway houses," Hunter said, where liquor is available.
"Part of it is to increase the revenue for Joey and the halfway house," he said, noting that there are only two tables there and it wouldn't be a place where people congregate.
"It's basically, get a beer ... not sit down," he said, responding to a concern expressed by one member of the public who said it could slow down the pace of play if golfers linger there to drink.
Hunter said his committee hadn't gotten into questions of exactly what would be sold or whether or not people could still bring in their own alcoholic beverages to the course.
"I would prefer we get the legal opinion on exactly how this would affect things before we vote on it," Haberstroh said, "because if we have to police people and open their bags to make sure they're not bringing anything, I don't think the golfers are going to want that."
"That doesn't mean we have to do that," Hunter said.
"Well, if it's state law ...," said Commissioner Andy Moss.
"We need to have a legal opinion," Haberstroh said. "Period."
The matter was tabled for more review at the commission's June 25 meeting.