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Problems With Former Foxy's Location Revival Sparks Talk of Changes to System

New bar proposed for the downtown area has the city considering its options regarding alcohol licenses.

A recent request for licenses for a new bar in the former Foxy's location has the city of Port Washington considering changes to its ordinances.

The common council has tabled action on license approvals for Deville’s Lounge while considering its right to refuse issuing a new retail alcohol license to the bar, and potentially adopting further licensing requirements for bars, based on recommendations of city officials.

When the issue of licenses for Deville's was brought up at a recent council meeting, Ald. Paul Neumyer said he would like to see the city ordinances revisited because they may need to be strengthened.

"That is something we would be giving priority to, looking at the whole process," City Administrator Mark Grams said.

The city may deny retail alcohol beverage licenses as long as it's not done arbitrarily, City Attorney Eric Eberhardt said. Furthermore, the council should carefully consider what conditions or limitations it attaches to a new retail alcohol license when the license is issued.

Eberhardt suggested that the city may wish to consider adopting a licensing arrangement like that of Green Bay. Green Bay requires that applicants submit a business plan that details who will operate the business, how it will operate internally and externally and the impact it may have on the community and police services.

In his report to the city about the new licenses, Police Chief Kevin Hingiss encouraged the city to consider more restrictions on bars to help the police department when issues arise at local bars.

"Looking to the future, I would like to see more restrictions on licensed premises," he said in the report.

Hingiss detailed suggestions he said would help the police mitigate or eliminate many issues/concerns associated with licenses premises, plus assist the PWPD in investigating and resolving law enforcement issues including "disorderly conduct/battery to public urination and underage drinking."

  • Related: New Start at Former Foxy’s Location Encounters Snags
  • Moving on: Foxy's Closes as Owner Takes His Chances in Vegas

Hingiss' suggestions were to:

  • Require a ratio between alcohol/beer sales and food sales, which would lead to a lesser chance of intoxicated patrons;
  • Have the establishment provide a specific "smoking area" for its patrons which would eliminate cigarette litter on the street or others' property;
  • And require a digital security imaging system to monitor exterior and interior spaces and would help law enforcement in criminal investigations and prosecutions;e also suggested that the establishments be required to maintain the security imaging system in good working order and make video be available to the city for public safety purposes.

The police and city are hoping to forestall problems that they say the city experienced with Foxy's.

Between 2004 and September 2012, the bar was a source of "recurrent calls" for police services for activities inside and outside the bar including disorderly conduct (fighting, public urination, profane language), battery, theft, damage to property, underage drinking or underage people on the premises, noise complaints and resisting or obstructing officers, Eberhardt said.

A sample of police calls to Foxy’s highlighted in Hingiss' report included the following from 2012:

  • Bar staff called police to report that a man they had kicked out for being unruly had come back. The man was cited for disorderly conduct.
  • People leaving the bar were warned for being noisy. One man was cited after police had to warn him a second time.
  • Officers on patrol heard a possible fight in progress and witnessed a large number of people leaving. Investigation led to citations being issued for underage drinking and underage people on the premises. One person was arrested for an outstanding warrant.
  • Bar staff reported a patron with a fake identification. Two citations were issued for underage alcohol consumption and misrepresentation of age by an underage person.
  • A noise complaint was called in. The police officer watched the tavern for 30 minutes and observed no citable violations although there was an increase in noise level due to the volume of customers. Bar security staff were warned to monitor their guests better.

As part of the current approval process, the building inspector and fire chief inspect the property and the police do a background check on the applicants. The common council has tabled action on license approvals for Deville’s Lounge until all inspections and reports have been completed.

Greg Huegerich November 27, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Aside from the required ratio of food/beverage, I'm ok with digital imaging and designated smoking areas. I do happen to believe its ok for there to be bars in a community, and it would be great if Port had a resurgent nightlife, a vibrant community shouldn't be a ghost town by 9pm. What's fundamentally wrong in all of this is how the council waited for someone to buy the property and apply for a licence before really bringing up any rule changes. Seems to me, good leadership would have identified some of the concerns that many folks have had about Foxy's and implemented some changes a year or two ago (or at a minimum a few months back when it closed down). Its really bad governance to be this reactively hostile to a new business opening up, after someone has gone through the process to acquire the property. However, its a power trap for the city because I think the Foxys location would've been a lot tougher to sell had they implemented these changes at that time. My opinion: 1) Play by the rules that exist today. 2) Improve the rules for the next time around, and 3) Stop building beauracracy into what should be a relatively simple process.
jon dough November 27, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Seems to me foxys wasn't that dangerous. Also the staff seemed to co-operate with the police...I'm missing the big issue
Dave November 28, 2012 at 12:51 PM
come on get real .........give them what they want and take your big headed power play and foucus it on the side on good go save a puppy.Lets have a night life in Port again.We are all adults if we mess up arrest us...We know the rules,
Tom Kamenick November 28, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Well put, Greg. Whether all (new) bars should be subject to these kinds of restrictions is one question, but to pull the plug on a new bar because you're thinking about changing the rules is not only unfair, it approaches that "arbitrary and capricious" line the council may not cross.
CatMM November 28, 2012 at 01:20 PM
I agree with the other comments. Another thing that doesn't make sense to me is that it seems like the city is using it against the bar because they called to report someone with a fake ID who was underage. Isn't that what a responsible bar owner is supposed to do? The same thing with the bar calling for help after kicking someone out who was unruly and returned? What should they have done instead so it wouldn't show up against them later?
JB November 28, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Well said. I think you should run for office. You're just the kind of level headed common sense person we need in local government.
Vic November 28, 2012 at 06:09 PM
I don't see what's wrong with a place that attracts the drunks, kind of light a lightning rod. Cops don't have to go all over the place looking for trouble makers, they are all in one handy location. ;)
Vic November 28, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Ok, just read the port PD news. Not much going on, should have plenty of time bust some drinks once in a while: "Police received a call from a Port resident at 5:55 a.m. Nov. 19 of a suspicious noise in a home in the 800 block of Glenlyon Lane. It was believed to be wind catching the door to the small flat roof of the residence." Really?
CTCMom2009 November 28, 2012 at 08:40 PM
I also thought the food/beverage ratio idea was odd... bars don't always serve food. To my knowledge, Schooner Pub is the only one that really does have a full menu, other than fried foods or maybe a pizza. Sir James Pub does not serve any food other than bags of chips and the occasional beef stick, so would they be put out of business if this restriction is put in place? That would be unfair and as you stated, a power grab.
Barbara Fields November 29, 2012 at 01:35 AM
Seriously? I was just appalled at the calls that the police had to "field" in 2012 regarding unruly patrons at Foxys! A fake ID, people leaving a bar at the same time...(could it perhaps have been bar close)? And to top it off warnings to quiet down the patrons! Omg! What a crime spree! Top it off with underage drinking and its like armagedon around Port!!!! What the hell has this world come to???? This is ridiculous! Foxys was there for About 7 years, schooners has a bar business and there are several other smaller bars in town with the same kind of issues...and NOW the "powers that be" want to switch things up for this NEW establishment. This is as ARBITRARY as it gets! Why should the new owners pay for the sins of the old owners? Why Now? Food sales at a ratio to alcohol sales? That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard! People do not go to bars to eat dinner! They go to bars to have fun and drink and dance. I'm not a tween or a twenty something or a thirty something. I have no motive to be on the side of the bar owners... I just believe that we have enough closed buildings and restaurants in our town as it is. I don't understand the big push to add another closed establishment to the list! Maybe we should all go out for coffee, go shop at Deluth trading, have a muffin and ban alcohol all together in Port! SHHHHHH! The council might just decide that's a good idea.... Now I've said too much!
Greg November 29, 2012 at 03:06 AM
Years ago, I thought beer was one of the food groups. I'd like the cob salad, a Yeager Bomb and a shake of the day.
Terry November 29, 2012 at 10:16 AM
Sounds like somebody didn't get the proper kick back. Lets see. Downtown has three primary bars that all shared the same customers. Customers passed freely between the three. But we chose to concentrate on one as the "problem". The bar that according to those I know on the department, was the best and most responsive when it comes to dealing and working with the police. But, the other two are owned by the "good old boys" network that still runs this city. You have Chico Poull at schooners, who is basically a good guy, but certainly connected. And there is Junior Uselding, from Pier Six. Well connected, and the supplier of most of the illegal gambling machines in the city that our police department has chosen to ignore... Perhaps the new potential owners of Foxy's just hasn't learned the correct hand to pass the unmarked stuffed envelope to.
dave November 29, 2012 at 03:27 PM
wasn't ther a port cop who got drunk driving after leaving foxy's. what ever happened to him. still driving a squad car!!!
Terry November 29, 2012 at 06:05 PM
No Dave... Wrong again, on every point. It was a Saukville cop, a different bar (don't remember the name), and he is no longer a cop.
Greg November 30, 2012 at 01:36 AM
It was the Grafton dog catcher, with a candlestick.
Terry November 30, 2012 at 02:34 AM
Lol. Nice Greg. I always went with Professor Plumb. He always seemed a bit shifty to me. If you are unaware, Dave has some sort of issue with the Port Police. He never misses a chance to slam them for something, even if he has to make it up to do it. I don't know what they did to him, but it must have been good.
Greg November 30, 2012 at 03:47 AM
I have never had a problem with the Port Washington police, but I have talked to people that are not in their fan club. I'd guess you would find that in most communities. Plumb it is.
Christian Zaja December 07, 2012 at 10:05 PM
Hi. I am Christian Zaja. I am 39 years old with two children, a wife and a home in this community. I have bartended for 8 years in this town, in several establishments. Since my name is being slung through the mud by everyone, I just wanted to share some things with you all. 1. I was never any type of manager or had anything to do with any decision making at the former Foxys. I was merely an employee. 2 I am not a "owner", partner or any such with Deville's. My name is not on any license application, lease or the LLC. 3. Yes I have an owi almost 7 years ago and my other ticket is for being in a licensed establishment after hours. I am a licensed bartender who happened to work at that establishment.. Hmmm? well anyways I paid my fine and it was a municipal ticket. Hardly a hardened criminal record 4 Due to all this finger pointing at me I am no longer associated with Deville's Lounge. 5 We did/do have a busness plan. 6 We went to Chief, building inspector and al parties concerned prior to the 1st meeting of the licensing. Building inspection has nothing to do with license approval only to do with building safety prior to opening and actually these issues are all the same issues that have been pending for several years and not addressed by the city. If Foxy's was such a "bad" place and building has not been in code for several years, then why was the licensed renewed on July 1st?
Christian Zaja December 07, 2012 at 10:05 PM
My intention was as Troy's still is to not only change the inside look and feel but to change the "reputation" of the prior establishments and were implenting several steps to do so... I could actually go on and on. The bottom line is none of the above information or actually any information posted in the paper (whether you choose to believe or not) have absolutely nothing to do with approving the liquor license. I wish all the best to Andy in Vegas. I also wish Troy all the best with his business venture. I would also like to thank Mr Mark Grams and Chief Hingiss for all the slander, misinformation, tainting of my familys' name and the cost of my job and feeding and taking care of my family. And grammar police fire away :) I'm a lil too upset to care at this point. And to concerned citizen....most of your bartenders/owners/managers oh and everyday people have an owi and a municipal ticket
Lyssa Beyer (Editor) December 13, 2012 at 08:57 PM
The fate of Deville's Lounge will be discussed in a public session on Tuesday http://patch.com/A-0sL1

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