Liquor Control Board

Boards, Commissions & Committees

Liquor Control Board - June 15, 2022 Minutes

June 15 2022 1:30 P.M.

Present: Commissioner Piepkorn, Kay Schwarzwalter, Robert Nelson, John Stibbe, Lydia Tackett

Others Present: Police Chief David Zibolski, City Auditor Steve Sprague, City Attorney Nancy Morris, Rick Carik, Rick’s, Dustin Mitzel, Happy Harry’s, Mike Hlebechuk, Windbreak, Tony Paquin, United States Axe

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 May 18 2022. Moved by Schwarzwalter, seconded by Tackett to approve the minutes of May 18, 2022 of the Liquor Control Board all voted in favor, motion passed unanimously.

2. A. Application for transfer of Class Z license to D&C Lab LLP d/b/a Labby’s Grill & Bar to be located at 1100 19 Ave N. Ownership change.
Sprague explained Dan & Carol Labernik have additional investors with 50/50 ownership, Dan will continue to sell until new owner gets to 100%. Piepkorn asked if this is a gradual ownership change and Sprague said Yes, this way they only have to pay the transfer fee once. Sprague also stated that there were no issues with the background check.

Moved by Tackett, seconded by Stibbe to approve the transfer of Class Z license to D&C LLP d/b/a Labby’s Grill & Bar. Motion passed unanimously.

B. United States Axe New Manager.
Sprague explained United States Axe has a new manager, Tony Paquin, a background check was ran and there were no issues. This is a non-actionable item.

3. Chief Zibolski discussed the monthly reports. Several items to discuss but began with the follow up from the last meeting in regards to public intoxication downtown. Jillian Gould, the Homeless Outreach Coordinator for the Harm Reduction Division of Cass Public Health was introduced and spoke in regards to that issue. Gould stated that from their Divisions stand point Housing is the solution to many of these issues. Piepkorn asked if the people in their shelter were given the option to go through treatment. Gould stated that they are there to help each person with their recovery journey and whatever that may look like, but treatment is definitely offered and it is very difficult to get people to go. Piepkorn asked if the City had enough resources to help someone if they came in and asked to go to treatment. Gould stated that Yes, if someone comes in and asks to go to treatment they will get them there. Stibbe asked what the magnet is to bring people downtown. Gould stated that downtown is very walkable and the Library and bus station are places they can go where they aren’t looked down on because of their situation. Nelson asked if the density of alcohol retailers downtown contributed to the problem. Gould stated they have asked people and they would not stop coming downtown because they consider it their community. Piepkorn asked about the relationship with the Police Department and Gould stated that it is very good. Piepkorn asked what their occupancy rate is. Gould said they are full all the time. Schwarzwalter commended them on the work they do. Piepkorn thanked Gould for coming and mentioned he thought it would be good to have regular updates from them.
Chief Zibolski went through the monthly report, beginning with underage drinking at the OB and District 64. OB had a patron report that there was someone underage in the establishment and they were able to remove that person. District 64 had an investigation follow up and the person was referred to City Prosecutors and nothing that the establishment had not done anything wrong. Schwarzwalter asked if District 64 has a scanner. Chief Zibolski stated he didn’t believe they did. He mentioned they had to obtain a search warrant to get the video he believed the owner didn’t understand what they were asking for. A meeting with them has been setup to discuss the cooperative relationship they would like to have them. Chief Zibolski had a presentation on the follow up request for information on the Windbreak, breakdown of the presentation was The Windbreak accounts for almost 1 in 4 of the liquor establishments forms. The Windbreak had 34% of the total violations from Jan 1 to May 31. The Windbreak is the only business with multiple over-intoxication issues (8). Chief Zibolski stated that we are still where we were and he discussed with City Attorney that none of these items are actionable. Piepkorn asked if there is any thing we can do. Chief Zibolski stated that now may be a good time to discuss changes to the Ordinance. Schwarzwalter asked about the penalty matrix that was started previously. Chief Zibolski clarified the penalty matrix is for violations that can be proven. Ordinance changes will provide greater latitude to the Board for control of the licensee. Piepkorn asked City Attorney Nancy Morris if an Ordinance change can be worked on. City Attorney Nancy Morris stated that there have been a number of possible changes discussed but the Board has not voted on them to move them up to the City Commission for direction. Nelson would like to know if the promotions businesses use could be part of a “pandering clause” in an Ordinance to determine if the business is operating responsibly. Dustin Mitzel from Happy Harry’s spoke in regards to perhaps beginning to charge for excessive calls to the Police Department for assistance to establishments, Mitzel gave examples of fire calls and if a security system goes off, they are billed for excessive calls. Nelson moved to make a motion to have the City Attorney begin drafting an Ordinance for the Liquor Control Board to have more authority. Schwarzwalter seconded. Piepkorn asked Attorney Morris if that was good enough direction. Attorney Morris stated that things needed to be discussed a little bit more in detail to what the changes will be. Schwarzwalter would like to see mandatory scanners and videos and if that is legal. Attorney Morris would not encourage that due to private property interests, but she wasn’t sure of the answer and feels that might be going a little too far. Piepkorn stated there is an issue with this particular business but we need things in place in order to resolve. Motion passed unanimously.

4. Sprague handed out an update on the information requested from the last meeting.
a. Downtown Population-for 2021 an estimate of 18,725
b. Downtown off sale-3 are strictly Off Sale, there are 6 licenses that are AB which gives them the opportunity to sell off sale but is only a minor part of their business
Schwarzwalter asked about Twist and if they are not open how long are they able to keep their license. Sprague stated that a lot of the licensees don’t understand that if they are not using their license it comes back to the City, if they want to keep their license the business needs to request a waiver to the part of the Ordinance that states that (25-15-12). Twist has sent a letter requesting that as well as Borrowed Bucks which will be presented to the City Commission.

5. Renewal Update. Sprague stated there are 22 licensees out of the 204 that still need to submit paperwork. The 22 licensees will not receive their license until all their paperwork has been submitted. On July 1st Sprague will reach out to PD with a list of businesses that have not been issued licenses. Schwarzwalter asked about Chipolte and Sprague mentioned that they did not return any paperwork at this point they are considered to not be selling alcohol and the license will not be renewd.

There being no further business to come before the Liquor Control Board, the meeting was adjourned at 2:20 p.m.