Barnacle Bill's scrapes by, retains licenses

Mar 5, 2024

Barnacle Bill's Seafood, a restaurant at 3126 Cranberry Highway, East Wareham, went before the Select Board on Tuesday, March 5 to resolve a non-payment of license fees and a failure to prove insurance. 

By the end of the hearing, the Select Board voted to accept payment of the license fees, but only by the slimmest of margins. 

Members of the Select Board emphasized that they try to keep businesses in town, not drive them out. However, they said, the circumstances of the case made it difficult to countenance mercy. 

Payment of license fees was due Jan. 1, a deadline the Barnacle Bill's missed. The Select Board held an informational meeting about Barnacle Bill's case during its Jan. 23 meeting and, according to the minutes of that meeting, set a date of Feb. 15 for the paperwork to be resolved. When the business missed that deadline as well, the board sent two letters on Feb. 26 and 27, the first asking for payment before a new hearing date of March 5 to avoid cancellation. 

While the owner, Andrew Mattos, did come in to pay Wednesday or Thursday of that week, the Principal Department Assistant to the Select Board told him to attend the meeting instead. 

Barnacle Bill's opened for business on two separate occasions during the months it was without a license, and the second time it was shut down by the Wareham Police Department. Additionally, this wasn't the first year Barnacle Bill's had trouble with its license fees; the business had difficulties at least the past four years, said Select Board Chair Judith Whiteside. 

"You're putting yourself in a terrible position," said Town Council Richard Bowen, speaking to Mattos. 

Mattos said he meant no disrespect to the town by being late with his licensing fees. He said the past three or four years had been tough for his seasonal business, and the cost of things was the only cause of delay.

However, the board voted 2-1 to accept Mattos' payment of the fees, under condition that a bank check be received by noon tomorrow along with all the other required documents, with Whiteside abstaining. 

"I'm going to abstain, which gives you a chance," Whiteside said; if she had voted in the negative, the business would have lost its licenses. She added she did not want to have any further late items of paperwork from the business.