Pols Lift Booze License Cap for Boston

One of the items passed in Beacon Hill’s last-day-of-the-session frenzy was an economic development bill that finally gives Boston full control of its own liquor licenses — and sets aside 75 new licenses for JP and other neighborhoods outside downtown.

The legislation, which Gov. Deval Patrick is expected to sign, aims to boost entrepreneurship by limiting the new booze licenses to JP, Mission Hill, Hyde Park, Mattapan, Dorchester and Roxbury, plus a few “Main Streets” districts including those in Roslindale and West Roxbury, according to the Boston Herald.

The idea isn’t to turn Boston into Bourbon Street, City Councilor Ayanna Pressley told the Herald. It’s about leveling the field for economic development. Pressley has been the driving force behind the reforms.

The 75 new licenses will operate differently from existing ones — they won’t be transferable and won’t come with the six-figure price tag the scarce licenses often fetch, the Herald reports.

These will be the first new licenses made available in the Hub since 1996, according to the Globe.

The new bill also fixes what has long been a sore point for Bostonians. The state legislature, fearing the rise of Irish-American political power in the city, imposed state oversight over liquor licenses. How the city won’t have to answer to a state board. The two-step process of getting both city as well as state approval was a further impediment to new bars and restaurants opening.