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Hess Liquor License Proposal Nixed

Police have responded to the address 89 times in the past year.

The Salem Licensing Board unanimously rejected a proposal to transfer the liquor license to the on New Derby Street Monday night.

The Board's Special Investigator Det. Peter Baglioni of the said there have been 89 calls for service to Hess in the past year for issues ranging from drunk individuals to customer disputes, larceny, domestic issues and harassment.

Phil Lombardo, the attorney representing Hess, told the Licensing Board the gas station was required to construct the walkway and benches behind the store during the permitting process per Chapter 91.

Lombardo said Hess would be willing to install a gate, utilize surveillance cameras and install signage to keep tabs on activity behind the building.

Those customers who would purchase alcohol would mostly likely be purchasing it as an "add-on" to other purchases like cigarettes or gas, Lombardo said.

In addition to calls to the Hess itself, Baglioni said there were 43 calls to the Derby/Lafayette street area, which is in close proximity to Hess, and 73 more calls for police to the area around , which is directly across the street from the gas station, within the past year.

Further, Baglioni said, there are eight establishments selling liquor within a half-mile radius of the store.

Chairman of the Board, former Salem Police Chief Robert St. Pierre said that "the area [near Hess] really is like ground zero for us." St. Pierre said the area is one of the "biggest and most difficult" for officers to cover.

Residents also expressed their concerns, including Shirley Walker of the Derby Lofts.

"If the city keeps adding liquor licenses, it's creating more crime," Walker said.

Walker said she believes the Salem Police are "seriously understaffed," and crime in the city is getting worse.

"This has got to stop," she added.

Ward 7 Councilor Emeritus Joseph O'Keefe, who is also the City Council liaison to the Board, said he looked at the liquor license proposal from his background as a fire protection engineer.

O'Keefe said he doesn't believe the combination of liquor and gas is a safe one.

"It's dangerous," he said, adding that gasoline "blows up, it's explosive."

Licensing Board member Rick Lee said "that Hess Gas station is like a beehive nest," referencing criminal issues in the area.

"I'm emphatically opposed to it," he said.

For more discussion on the Hess Gas Station be sure to

Chris March 13, 2012 at 12:03 PM
The combination of liquor and gas is dangerous? What on earth does O'Keefe think is going to happen? Maybe Hess should stop selling matches and lighters, they'd be more dangerous than liquor at a gas station wouldn't they?
zachary antczak March 13, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Shirley Walker this LQ license already exists.
KlassySalem March 13, 2012 at 02:53 PM
It was better than that. He said something along the lines of trouble brewing when people try to tank up at both ends. It was really funny. The other HILARIOUS moment was Walker feigning shock at the number of police calls to action there were in the surrounding area. 1. She had printouts of the police logs in her hand. 2. This is the same woman who called the police when the restaurant next door offered residents of her building half price appetizers! How many of the calls were frivolous ones from her?
Aubry Bracco (Editor) March 13, 2012 at 03:16 PM
O'Keefe had also examined the proposed gate and the line of sight from the building to the physical gas pumps.
Meg Elizabeth March 13, 2012 at 03:54 PM
so all of these crime and drunkard problems are already there, and we are fighting a already existing liquor license, that wants to move down the street a bit. The Hess is a respectable business, that is in better light and appears to want to be actively involved in solving the issues (fence, cameras, lighting, etc)? Sounds like we are really solving problems here. Oh, no wait. I forgot where I was. Of course we are not.
christine March 13, 2012 at 06:00 PM
You mean allowing so manyresidential condos without parking in the area did not solve any problems? I think they created more!
christine March 13, 2012 at 06:01 PM
might not expect made the list. Bay State's Most Dangerous Towns www.thebostonchannel.com
christine March 13, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Sorry the last one didn't work this one does http://www.thebostonchannel.com/slideshow/news/30628173/detail.html
Edward March 13, 2012 at 06:10 PM
When did Councillor O'Keefe become "Councillor Emeritus"??? "Ward 7 Councilor Emeritus Joseph O'Keefe, who is also the City Council liaison to the Board, said he looked at the liquor license proposal from his background as a fire protection engineer."
KlassySalem March 13, 2012 at 06:24 PM
We're actually just about perfectly in line with our population rank.
Meg Elizabeth March 13, 2012 at 06:53 PM
I am not really saying anthing about the condos downtown. other then i really dont want to hear from those that purchased them to complain about noise / traffic / parking, etc. you purchased a condo in a DOWNTOWN area people. If you dont want noise / traffic / parking issues, purchase somewhere other then a HUB of activity. And it has always been like that.
Bill March 13, 2012 at 08:12 PM
weak...stopping one place from selling beer will not clean up the drunks in Salem. Keep dreaming.
Dan Faust March 13, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Thanks to the board for shooting down the Hess station's request.
Meg Elizabeth March 13, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Exactly. but stopping one place from selling beer seems to make a few smug quite happy.

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