New Bar Owners Blocked Again by Building Code Violations
The Common Council will have a final vote Dec. 18 meeting considering whether to approve the liquor license for Deville's Lounge, which is proposed to fill the Foxy's vacancy. But the police chief is not in favor of approval.
A building inspection of the former Foxy's location revealed a number of code violations that add more snags to the already challenging process facing new owners who hope to open a bar there.
The Port Washington Director of Building Inspection and Zoning Gary Peterson sent a letter to business owner Troy Koput explaining the 25 code violations he found in the building. The issues include:
- missing electrical junction box covers;
- extension cords being used incorrectly where permanent wiring should instead be;
- inoperable cooking equipment;
- a loose sink, crushed ductwork and missing drywall in the bathroom;
- and cracked windows, among other issues.
The violations mean a Change of Occupancy permit is denied unless the business owners take the time to correct each issue.
Police chief recommends denial
Beyond those troubles, Port Washington City Administrator Mark Grams and Police Chief Kevin Hingiss both recommend that the city deny the retail alcohol beverage license needed by Koput, of West Bend, and manager Christian Zaja, of Port Washington to open Deville's Lounge. Zaja previously worked at Foxy's.
Hingiss cited incidents in Zaja's background — including an OWI offense in 2006 and an after-hours incident in April another bar, The Spot — as well as a long list of calls to Foxy's over its years of operation in his report recommending the denial of a liquor license.
Hingiss also said in general he thinks a more specific system for granting licenses needs to be set in place to better curb such problems at local bars.
"Looking to the future, I would like to see more restrictions on licensed premises," he said in his report.
Hingiss detailed suggestions he said would help the police mitigate or eliminate many issues/concerns associated with licensed premises, plus assist the PWPD in investigating and resolving law enforcement issues including "disorderly conduct/battery to public urination and underage drinking."
The Common Council will have a final vote Dec. 18 considering whether to approve that license for the business; the issue will be discussed in closed session according to Wisconsin law, unless Koput requests an open session hearing before the meeting.
Even if the council decides to approve the liquor license, the code violations will need to be fixed so that an occupancy permit can be approved before a license is granted, Grams said.