RICHMOND — When voters in this northern Sagadahoc County town lifted a ban on serving alcohol on Sundays more than a decade ago, they didn’t do what they thought they did.

Now the owners of two Richmond restaurants are waiting to see whether they will be able to continue serving Bloody Marys and beer to Sunday patrons.

Scott McIntire, at The Old Goat, and Kimberly Travis, who runs Kimberly’s Restaurant & Lounge, were circulating a petition last week to put a measure on the ballot at Town Meeting to lift the Sunday ban properly.

Because the Richmond Town Office is closed on Fridays, they won’t know until this week whether they collected enough signatures from registered Richmond voters to get a place on the town’s June ballot.

“The town did hold a special town meeting in 2005,” Town Manager Janet Smith said. Smith has spent some time looking through town records to find out what happened 12 years ago.

Residents voted at the special meeting by a show of hands to lift the blue law, she said, but that didn’t meet the standard set out in state statute.


In the course of her research, she said, she also found a memo from the Richmond Police Department dating back more than a decade that said state liquor enforcement officials had no record that Richmond had lifted the ban.

David Heidrich, of the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services, said Friday that state law contains provisions for a local option in lifting alcohol sales at bars and restaurants. Among its requirements are a petition, signed by a number of registered town voters equal to 15 percent of those who voted in the last gubernatorial election, to be submitted at least 45 days before the vote is scheduled to take place, and a public hearing. It also details how the vote is to reported to the Maine secretary of state’s office.

In addition, Smith said the petition cannot originate with municipal officers and the vote has to be conducted by secret ballot, with absentee balloting starting 30 days before the election.

“The intent was there in ’05,” she said, “but the execution was a little lacking.”

Taking a short break from cooking on Friday, Travis said she had collected petition signatures but she doesn’t think it was enough.

Kimberly’s, which opened earlier this year in the former Railway Cafe, serves traditional brunch cocktails such as mimosas, Bloody Marys and screwdrivers to Sunday brunch customers, and she expects those who come in for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day will want to order drinks. But if they can’t, she’ll still be serving food.


“I hope we get enough signatures,” Travis said, adding that not being able to serve alcohol probably would hurt McIntire more.

McIntire said he’s not sure how many of the signatures will make the cut. They need 240.

“We turned in more than enough to meet what they wanted,” he said. “They are pretty thorough going through them.”

If the number of petition signatures fall short and the measure doesn’t make it on the ballot for the June 13 election, the next opportunity to put it before voters would be the November election.

“Sunday is a tenuous day,” McIntire said. Without the ability to serve beer, he said he’d probably close on Sundays, and that could lead to layoffs.

“That’s 27 man hours my staff is going to lose,” he said, “and I do pay well, $4 over the minimum wage. There’s also the income I would lose.”


Smith said when she spoke to the state’s liquor enforcement office, she learned that other communities are in the same predicament.

“I’m hoping they do get their signatures,” she said.

The Board of Selectmen has left a placeholder on the warrant, knowing that signatures were being collected.

“As long as the names check out, the board has agreed that if they were presented with the petition, it would be in the upcoming June election,” she said. “We just want to get this housekeeping done.”

In the meantime, McIntire said he plans to continue serving beer on Sundays.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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