The Westport Planning and Zoning Commission has unanimously approved a new text amendment that loosens the rules on granting liquor permits in town.

Under Text Amendment 635, approved last Thursday, new dining establishments that plan to serve liquor will no longer need to obtain a special permit from the P&Z to supplement the permits that they receive from the state Department of Consumer Protection.

The amendment also streamlines the permit process for existing restaurants and bars. The town's zoning regulations now stipulate that these establishments secure special permit approval again from the P&Z when they renew their state permits.

No establishment, however, has had to go through this process, because the town's zoning rules also allow the Planning and Zoning director, Larry Bradley, to waive this provision after consulting with the police chief. Bradley said he has waived the special permit requirement for the handful of dining establishments that have renewed their state liquor permits since the town's current liquor permit regulations went into effect last year.

The new amendment eliminates this re-approval process, so dining establishments will only need to renew their state permits to continue serving liquor.

Text Amendment 635 takes effect Aug. 15.