Port Liquor License Laws Strengthened in Shadow of Foxys' Closure
The Port Washington Common Council introduced an ordinance on Tuesday night that would require a business plan as well as security plan from applicants hoping to obtain a liquor license.
Modeling the changes in large part on Green Bay's alcohol licensing process, the Port Washington Common Council on Tuesday night introduced an ordinance that would require both a business plan and security plan from applicants hoping to open an alcohol-related business in Port.
The idea to strengthen the alcohol license ordinance sprouted after the closure of Foxys Bar and the controversial denial of a license to hopeful business owner Troy Koput that followed. Koput had been trying to launch Deville's Lounge, but his license was denied in December.
City Attorney Eric Eberhardt read the proposed ordinance to the Common Council during its Tuesday night meeting.
"This is a draft, to talk about or agree or disagree with — but it's a starting point," he said.
- Learn more: Read up on what happened after Foxys closed.
The ordinance details requirements for license applicants looking to open a new business:
- A business plan describing items such as hours of operation, type of music or entertainment planned, type of food, potential negative impacts on the surrounding neighborhood, and how the business will handle these issues;
- A security plan agreed to after meeting with Port Washington Police Chief Kevin Hingiss, including ideas such as trained security staff, cameras on the premises, limits on patrons in the buildings and more.
Some of the ordinance changes would also have an impact on current business owners when they renew each year, including building inspections to be sure it complies with sanitary regulations and other codes and ordinances.
Some aldermen expressed concern over requiring businesses to have cameras on site, and the council also discussed the long process this could create should a business simply want its ownership to change hands with a family member, for example.
Ald. Doug Biggs also pointed out that though the new ordinance creates guidelines for a new business or renewal applicant — it doesn't mean that just because these items are met satisfactorily the council has to approve a license.
"It doesn’t actually take away the prerogative of the council for reasons such as 'We don't feel this type of establish is appropriate for the city,'" Biggs said."(This) doesn't force us to grant a license just because they have complied with all of these stipulations."
The council will hold a public hearing regarding the ordinance during its Feb. 5 meeting, City Administrator Mark Grams said, adding that all existing license holders would be sent a notice about the meeting. The final draft would go before the council for approval at its Feb. 20 meeting.