Hopeful business owner Troy Koput, who has been trying to launch Deville's Lounge in the former Foxys Bar space, has requested a public meeting to discuss the approval of the retail alcohol beverage license needed to open the business.
Koput has faced an enormous amount of opposition from city officials since he first proposed opening the bar in November. At that time, former Foxys employee Christian Zaja was set to be the manager of the bar.
Zaja is no longer with the business in hopes that the negative publicity tied to his background — an OWI six years ago as well as an after hours violation cited in Port Police Chief Kevin Hingiss' report recommending denial of the license — will go away.
- Replacing Foxys: Follow the story on Patch's page about the issue
The issue was to be addressed in closed session by the Port Washington Common Council on Tuesday, until Koput called City Administrator Mark Grams this week requesting an open session. The meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Port's City Hall.
But Grams said the fact that Zaja would be out of the picture doesn't change his mind, as he doesn't think the addition of another bar benefits the city.
"I guess in my mind it still doesn’t change anything. ... Those are all just regular bars — how many does a city of our size have to have?" Grams said, adding he would prefer a restaurant-type bar where the primary focus would be on food.
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Koput is also facing challenges securing a change of occupancy permit because of building code violations. A building inspection found 25 code violations, including:
- missing electrical junction box covers;
- extension cords being used incorrectly where permanent wiring should be;
- inoperable cooking equipment;
- a loose sink, crushed ductwork and missing drywall in the bathroom;
- and cracked windows, among other issues.
And while some argue that these problems have long existed at Foxys and it should not be a reason to hold up the process for Deville's, Grams said the process for reapproving the license for Foxys year-after-year makes it hard to bring such problems to the surface.
"It's a different process that you have to go through — whenever somebody changes ownership that’s when you get kind of a new kick at the cat," Grams said. "It's difficult to turn (a renewal) down."
If the Common Council decides to approve Deville's retail alcohol license on Tuesday, the building code violations will need to be fixed before the license will be issued.