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Boards, Commissions & Committees

Liquor Control Board - April 20, 2022 Minutes

April 20 2022 1:30 P.M.

Present: Commissioner Piepkorn, Kay Schwarzwalter, Robert Nelson, John Stibbe, Lydia Tackett
Absent: None
Others Present: Police Chief David Zibolski, City Auditor Sprague, City Attorney Nancy Morris, Rick Carik, Rick’s; Dustin Mitzel, Happy Harry’s, Duane Litton, Duffy’s, Dan Labernik, Labby’s; Jared Hardy, Fargo Brewing, Preston Nesemeier, FCPH; and other interested parties.

Meeting was called to order at 1:30 P.M.

1. Commissioner Piepkorn called the meeting to order and asked if there were any additions or corrections to the minutes of March 16, 2022. Moved by Schwarzwalter, seconded by Tackett to approve the minutes of March 16, 2022 of the Liquor Control Board all voted in favor, motion passed unanimously.

2. A. Application to issue a Class ABH-RZ alcoholic beverage license to Blarney Stone Pub HoDo LLC d/b/a Blarney Stone Pub HoDo to be located at 101 Broadway.

Sprague explained the sale of the HoDo was announced recently to a group operating area Blarney Stone restaurants. The concept is to continue operating the hotel but to remodel the main floor restaurant into the Blarney Stone design. Nelson asked if this would include the roof top area, Sprague replied the roof top bar was part of the licensed premise. Piepkorn asked if a transfer was an option, Sprague replied the hotel was in continuous operation even though the restaurant/bar was not operating, there continued to be alcohol sales to hotel guests as is permitted under the license thereby having continuous alcohol sales. The business is considered a going concern and is eligible for transfer.

Moved by Tackett, seconded by Stibbe to approve the issuance of the class ABH-RZ alcoholic beverage license to Blarney Stone Pub HoDo. Motion passed unanimously.

B. Application to change officer for Residence Inn. Sprague mentioned the company contacted the City to let us know they had changed officers; a background check has been completed by the City with no issues. Moved by Tackett, Seconded by Schwarzwalter to approve the new officer for Residence Inn. Motion passed unanimously.

3. Chief Zibolski discussed the monthly reports. Chief commented we had a lively St Patricks’ Day, there are a couple investigations that are open, a potential assault and a fraud investigation. In addition, we continue to see a number of over intoxication issues. Stibbe asked about the Windbreak with 8 calls most of which involved over intoxication or assaults. Stibbe asked if that was something law enforcement could correct? Chief replied the problem is determining if the over intoxication occurred at that facility, and it need to be observed, the facility will often claim they were over served at another establishment, Chief also commented that alcohol affects people differently depending on body mass etc. The patron could leave one establishment and by the time they arrive at another location the alcohol starts its affect. Stibbe also asked about Place of Last Drink. Attorney Morris said they could look at receipts etc. to try to determine if someone was overserved. Stibbe said there are many bars that are not on the list, while some bars are on the police report a lot. Chief said while he agrees there appears to be a common theme, addressing the issue might require some ordinance changes to give the Board an opportunity to address. Chief said obtaining the video would assist investigations; however, businesses are sometimes reluctant to supply the video. Piepkorn stated we have a chronic violator and the City is the licensing authority, so the City can take action against the liquor license. Morris responded there is an ordinance that addresses public safety concerns where action can be taken against a license that possess a public safety concern. Nelson asked if the business is aware there is a problem? Chief responded he believes they are aware; they have been less than cooperative in other areas where the City has interacted. Nelson said if there is negligence, the City needs to take action. Piepkorn commented he would like to notify them they need to correct the behavior and if not they could lose the license. Schwarzwalter asked if we can request they have a functioning camera, Chief responded we can make requests but a request is not enforceable and would require an ordinance change to make it a requirement. Morris comments under 25-1512 B 6 the commission could suspend or revoke the license if the licensee conducts his business in a manner that results in or is conducive to the creation of public disturbance.

4. Sprague commented the City received a request to suspend the liquor license for Fargo Moorhead Community Theater (FMCT). Under advisement from the City Attorney the request is to suspend the requirements of 25-1512 for a 6 month period until November 1, 2022. Moved by Tackett, seconded by Schwarzwalter to approve the 6 month suspension of the liquor license requirement of 25-1512, motion passed unanimously.

5. Sprague indicated after the last Board meeting there were concerns about server training. In response to the concerns we held a meeting with Board member Schwarzwalter and 8 businesses. Those businesses consisted of on sale, off sale, restaurants and hotels, there was good informative discussion. Schwarzwalter mentioned she appreciates the input of the companies. Three things stood out; there is an interest to promote on line server training, an interest in de-escalation training and they would like to explore COPS in Shops type of compliance checking. The server training needs to be training for servers and bartenders, the modules used in Illinois require you to pass a test at the end of the training. She appreciates the emphasis on understanding BAC. The business owners input reflected that the attitude in bars has really changed, people are much more confrontational, so de-escalation training would be greatly appreciated. She would like to get the voice of the servers; she feels that is the piece she is missing. She is concerned about the servers and needs their input. She feels the penalty matrix should be applied consistently, a failure is a failure. She will continue to research the on line server training. Nelson commented he believes each compliance failure is unique and should have the opportunity to be heard.

6. Sprague mentioned the two business appealed the compliance failures but the City Commission denied the request to waive the penalty. Finally, the required annual meeting will be held May 3rd with three times available 10, 2 or 6. Attendance is require or a $500 penalty will be applied.

There being no further business to come before the Liquor Control Board, the meeting was adjourned at 2:17 p.m.