Licensing/Permits

Change in demerit points gets deferred

Licensing & Permit Committee PictureAt yesterday’s Licensing & Permit Committee meeting, Alderperson David Bogdala spoke on his proposed ordinance change regarding demerit points.  He wants to change the amount of demerit points assessed to license holders of Class B and Class C establishments, and bartenders.  His proposed changes included:

  1. Changing the amount of demerit points for second offense Driving Under the Influence (DUI) convictions from 40 to 80 points; and
  2. Changing the amount of demerit points for selling to underage persons from 20 points to 40 points.

Once an establishment has accumulated 100 points, they are called to appear in front of the Licensing & Permit Committee.  Bogdala said, “This is a serious issue.  We have alcohol issues in the city of Kenosha.  One strike and you’re out if it were up to me.”

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Licensing and permit decisions

Licensing & Permit Committee PictureOn Wednesday night, the Common Council met and ruled on several licensing and permit issues.  These are summarized below:

  • Seven new operator’s (bartender) licenses were approved, subject to various amounts of demerit points.
  • One new taxi driver’s license was approved, subject to 90 demerit points.  Two others were denied.

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CVS Pharmacy license vote deferred to fix sales numbers

Licensing & Permit Committee PictureOn Monday night, the Licensing & Permit Committee met.  One of the agenda items was the application of Wisconsin CVS Pharmacy, LLC, for a beer/liquor license located at 3710 – 57th Avenue, in the 5th district.   The application requested that the license be effective on January 24, 2013.  Michael Martin, agent, was present, as well as the CVS district manager.

Alderperson Rocco LaMacchia, alderperson for the district, said that he was supportive of the application.  “They’ve installed card readers, gates, cameras.  The expensive liquor will be locked up,” he said.  Alderperson Anthony Kennedy pointed out the second page of the application.  The sales figures on the application stated that the stores does $140,000 in beer sales per month, as well as $251,000 in beer sales for the year.  The committee voted unanimously to defer the application to the next meeting to give the applicants a chance to amend these figures.  (If sales figures are not met, the committee has the authority to pull the license.)

Below is a summary of other agenda item votes:

  • Seven new operator’s (bartender) licenses were approved, some with demerit points attached; one was deferred.

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Disciplinary hearings ordinance change gets shot down

Disciplinary HearingsAt Monday’s Licensing & Permit Committee meeting, the proposed ordinance change sponsored by the committee was unanimously approved without the change that Alderperson David Bogdala, 17th district, first presented at the Common Council meeting last week.  To read what was discussed at that meeting, click here:  “Liquor License Quota Ends.”

Bogdala again brought up the language that had been discussed with Chairman Jesse Downing two weeks ago.  The amendment was to add the language, “or any other person where there is a contractual client relationship of trust or reliance.”  He cited the rationale as being the Supreme court decision.  The language comes from it.  He felt that was in the spirit of the ordinance.  He wanted to make sure someone had an actual relationship with the licensee being heard at the hearing.  He wanted it to coincide with the Supreme Court decision.  He felt that it would avoid undue litigation moving forward.

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Liquor license quota ends

Photo by Lukas Zeman via stock.xchng

Photo by Lukas Zeman via stock.xchng

At Monday night’s Common Council meeting, it was approved by a vote of 10 to 4 to repeal a section of the city’s zoning ordinance requiring certain distances  be kept between retail liquor license holders.  Instead, the penalties for violating any of the ordinance’s rules became harsher.

At first, Alderperson Rocco LaMacchia wanted to defer the vote for two weeks.  The agenda item before this one had to do with who could appear on behalf of a license holder in front of licensing disciplinary hearings. That item was deferred for two weeks due to the absence of the chairperson of the Licensing & Permit Committee (Alderperson Jesse Downing).  (Read more about this item below.)

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Resolution approved urging governor to OK Kenosha casino

Gov Walker casinoAt tonight’s Common Council meeting, an agenda item included a resolution sponsored by Alderperson Patrick Juliana and co-sponsored by Alderpersons Michael Orth, Jan Michalski, Curt Wilson, Tod Ohnstad, Scott Gordon, Eric Haugaard, Jesse Downing, and Rocco LaMacchia to urge the governor to approve the casino proposed for the city of Kenosha.  The resolution was approved by a vote of 12 to 2.

Alderpersons Kevin Mathewson and David Bogdala voted against the resolution.  Mathewson said that he didn’t feel that a “nasty letter should be sent to the governor.”  Bogdala said that he voted against it because his constituents are opposed to the casino at Dairyland.

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Shell Plaza loses beer license

Shell LogoAt Monday night’s Common Council meeting, it was voted to approve the findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendation of the Licensing & Permit Committee to revoke the beer license of Shell Food Plaza, located at 11748 – 75th Street.  This was a voice vote.  It was not an unanimous decision; there were a couple of no’s that rang out, which couldn’t be identified definitively.

Ray Misner, of the Licensing and Community Standards Consultants of Wisconsin, LLC, spoke on behalf of the licensee, although he stated that he was not his legal counsel.  He handed out a packet to the Council members and to Steve Cain, the legal counsel for the Common Council.  Misner stated that the old agent, Yolo Yolov, was no longer employed by the corporation.  “The successor agent is a temporary placeholder until approved for permanent placement.”  He made the case that the revocation was against the agent, the employee, and not the corporation.  The recommendation of the Licensing & Permit Committee is for revocation.  He said that the demerit points should not be applied to the corporation or to the new agent.  He stated that he was challenging the revocation.

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Quota system ends for retail liquor licenses

Gas Station Selling LiquorAt Monday night’s Common Council meeting, several changes were approved to Chapter 10 of the code of general ordinances for the city of Kenosha entitled, “Alcohol Beverages.”  These changes were sponsored by Alderperson Jesse Downing, chairman of the Licensing & Permit Committee, and co-sponsored by Alderpersons Patrick Juliana, Rocco LaMacchia, and Curt Wilson.  The changes included:

  • Eliminating the self-imposed quota, which was previously set at one license for every 5,000 residents, allowing for 20 retail liquor licenses in the city.  All of these licenses are in use at the present time.
  • A new, separate system where two license violations in one year will result in a 60-day suspension, and three violations in one year will result in license revocation.

The retail liquor licenses will still fall under the point-based demerit system, where 100 demerit points over two years will result in a review of the license in front of the Licensing & Permit Committee that could result in suspension or revocation.  Any applicant for a Class A license will still need to apply to the city, contact the alderperson of the district, and be approved by the Common Council.

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Speedway called in front of Licensing & Permit Committee

The Licensing & Permit Committee met yesterday.  One of the agenda items included a discussion of the conduct of patrons and persons at the Speedway gas station, located at 5959 – 75th Street.  Chairman Jesse Downing stated that there have been 75 police calls to or around the Speedway that have come from the store.  Rita Trimmel, district manager for Speedway, and Carla Sappington, store manager, were present in front of the committee to discuss the situation.

Downing was concerned over the excessive police manpower at Speedway.  “There have been 75 to 80 calls, plus an alarm call, which ended up being a false alarm.”  Downing said that Speedway employees met with the Kenosha Police Tavern Squad, and basically ignored the suggestions given, like closing 15 fifteen minutes after Bragados Banquets let out, or having additional employees on staff at that time.

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City Plan Commission nixes Walgreen’s exceptions

The Kenosha City Plan Commission met earlier this evening.  The first two agenda items had to do with the special exception requests of Walgreen’s, 3805 – 80th Street, to the spacing requirements spelled out in the city’s zoning ordinances.  The applicable sections read:

No Class “A” (beer) License shall be located within 2,640 feet of any other city-issued Class “A” License, unless the proposed location held a Class “A” License within the three hundred sixty-five (365) days preceding the application; and

No “Class A” (liquor) License shall be located within 5,280 feet of any other city-issued “Class A” License, unless the proposed location held a “Class A” License within the three hundred sixty-five (365) days preceding the application.

Walgreen’s is requesting both retail beer and liquor licenses.  The commission voted 3 to 4 to 1 to deny the exceptions.  Those voting for were Alderperson Kevin Mathewson, Ron Stevens, and Mayor Keith Bosman, who is the chairman of the commission.  Those voting against were vice chairman and Alderperson Anthony Kennedy, Alderperson Jan Michalski, Kathryn Comstock, and Anderson Lattimore.  Robert Hayden abstained from both votes due to one of his family members being employed at Walgreen’s.

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Common Council upholds suspension/revocation findings

At last night’s Common Council meeting, the decisions of the Licensing & Permit (L&P) Committee regarding the suspensions/revocations of the licenses of several establishments were upheld.

CVS Pharmacy

In the matter of the CVS Pharmacy, located at 3726 – 22nd Avenue, the findings of the L&P Committee were to suspend the beer/liquor license for 30 consecutive days and reinstate subject to 80 demerit points.  This was approved by the Council by a vote of 15 to 2 (Alderpersons Rocco LaMacchia and Tod Ohnstad were the two dissenting voters).

Larry Cohen, an attorney for CVS, and John Boyk, the Wisconsin and Illinois district manager for CVS, had objected to the recommendation of the L& P Committee.  Cohen said that the individuals responsible had been terminated the following day.  “We have a zero tolerance policy.  We are embarrassed that this occurred.  We’ve installed three various  machines.”  Boyk then explained that CVS has 7,600 stores across the U.S., and that 70% of them sell beer, spirits, alcohol, and tobacco.  “We are committed to upholding the laws of the municipalities we serve.”  He then explained the driver’s license reader equipment they installed, the compliance training they provide, and the fact that the cashier needs to also input the birth date into the register to sell alcohol.

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Changes to city alcohol ordinances approved

Photo by Lukas Zeman via stock.xchng

At tonight’s Licensing & Permit Committee meeting, the committee members unanimously approved two changes having to do with alcohol ordinances for the city of Kenosha.

One had to do with the general ordinances, Chapter 10, entitled “Alcohol Beverages.”  Chairman Jesse Downing said that, over the last two months, numerous establishments have applied for liquor licenses, but there are none available.  Alderperson Rocco LaMacchia sponsored an ordinance change to add six additional licenses.  Downing said that “they were all for one corporation, but no one wanted to admit it.”  Therefore, the committee decided to do away with the city’s quota for Class A licenses and, at the same time, make the ordinance more stringent.

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Bragados Banquets on tap for revocation of cabaret license

At a Licensing & Permit Committee meeting held last Friday, on November 9th, a complaint was heard which was filed by Police Chief John Morrissey against the establishment, Bragados Banquets, located at 4820 – 75th Street, in Kenosha.  Most recently, there was an issue which precipitated this complaint, early on Sunday morning, October 28th.

There was a police chase, shots fired in the parking lot, bleeding, at least two injured persons, broken glass inside the building, loaded guns, gang and drug activity, and complete chaos.  The crowd was a little less than 400 people that night.  Apparently, it was a planned gun shooting in retaliation for another shooting that took place in Waukegan.  There were 16 of 18 Kenosha police officers that responded to the incident that night, plus 5 officers from the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department, an additional two from Pleasant Prairie, and three Kenosha Fire Department rescue squads.

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Liquor licenses ruled on at Common Council meeting

The Common Council ruled last night on the findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendations for four establishments:

  • The roll call vote was unanimously in favor in the matter of the bartender license of Anthony Corrao.  The recommendation was to suspend the license for 30 days, notify the employer of the suspension, and reinstate the license subject to 45 demerit points.
  • The roll call vote was 13 to 3 to approve the renewal of the liquor license of Bragados Banquets subject to 80 demerit points.  Those alderpersons voting against were Alderpersons Kevin Mathewson, Steve Bostrom, and David Bogdala.

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Licensing & Permit Committee defers new ordinance change

At yesterday’s Licensing & Permit Committee meeting, the ordinance change sponsored by Alderperson Rocco LaMacchia, adding six new liquor licenses for the city, was deferred for two weeks for further city attorney review.  LaMacchia spoke on the proposal:  “This ordinance change was not drafted with any particular individual in mind.”

Chairman Jesse Downing then relayed the three caveats that are being considered for the ordinance:  1) That the fees associated with the license be directed to the Tavern Squad for enforcement issues; 2)That the alderperson of the district give their approval; and 3) That, with two violations, the license will be suspended, and with three violations, the license will be revoked.

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Bartender’s license denied

At Monday’s Common Council, there was much discussion on the agenda item having to do with approving the application of Keith Boreman for a new operator’s (bartender) license, subject to 80 demerit points.  The Licensing & Permit Committee had already approved the license before Monday by a vote of 4 to 1 (Alderperson Anthony Kennedy had been the sole dissenting voter at that time).

This applicant was a convicted felon, having committed wreckless homicide back in 1993.  Alderperson Kevin Mathewson recommended denial due to public safety concerns.  The chief of police, John Morrissey, also recommended denial of the application.  Boreman has already been issued a bartender’s license by the town of Wheatland.

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Licensing & permit committee discusses increasing number of licenses

At this afternoon”s Licensing & Permit Committee meeting, an agenda item had to do with a proposed ordinance sponsored by Alderperson Rocco LaMacchia, increasing the number of liquor licenses for the city to accommodate Walgreen’s and CVS stores.  The reason LaMacchia gave for this ordinance proposal was “because the CVS store at Green Bay Road and Washington Road was promised a license, but never got one.  Therefore, when ads come out advertising the sale of beer, liquor, and wine at the CVS store, and when the customers can’t buy it there, they go across the street and buy their liquor at WalMart’s.”  Regarding the city’s density rules, LaMacchia said that “generating the licenses doesn’t mean people will get them.”

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L & M Meats granted another extension

At last night’s Licensing/Permit Committee Meeting,   L & M Meats received permission to maintain their beer/liquor license for a second time.  The first extension was granted by the committee on April 30th.  This is for the building located at 4902 – 7th Avenue.  Once an establishment is issued a liquor license, they have 90 days to open the business.  If they do not open for business within the 90 days, they must come before the committee and request an extension.

Keith Meyer, owner, spoke at the meeting and relayed the extensive remodeling work they have been doing to the building since they bought it in February.  They currently have bids out for interior plumbing work, HVAC, etc.  Meyer said that he hopes to be open by December 1st, but wasn’t entirely positive about that.

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Special licensing meeting reviews demerit point system

A special meeting was held after the regular Licensing/Permit Committee meeting last night to discuss Chapter 10 of the Code of General Ordinances for the city of Kenosha.  This chapter has to do with alcoholic beverages.  If you’d like to review this chapter for yourself, click here:  Chapter 10 – Alcoholic Beverages.

Chairman Jesse Downing stated that the purpose of this meeting was to seek the input of both the public and the commissioners on the topic of revamping the city’s demerit point system.  Public comments were then solicited.  Shirley Wylie, owner of Clay’s Tavern, made comments having to do with minors. She didn’t believe that minors should be ticketed for both loitering and underage drinking.  Kerry Raymond, owner of Sir Arthur’s Beer Gardens, stated, “I believe the whole point system should be scrapped.  It’s a penalty, but we’ve been told that it merely tracks a business’ progress.  That’s the biggest problem.  Even if my ticket drops, the points are still there.”

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Social hosting stays at 100 points

Photo by Lukas Zeman via stock.xchng

At tonight’s Common Council meeting, the 100-point demerit point assessment for social hosting was approved by a vote of 14 to 2.  Alderpersons G. John Ruffolo and Steve Bostrom voted against, not because they’re against the social hosting ordinance having more points assessed, but because the 100 points was equal to that of a felony.  They thought it was “too harsh.”

Ruffolo said, “I’m in favor of increasing the points for social hosting, but to make it equal to a felony (in the demerit point system)?  Courts don’t look at it as a felony.  It seems severe.”  Bostrom agreed.  “The number of points should be significantly increased, but immediately disqualifying them?  Don’t get me wrong.  I am not against this.  I’m against the number of points being assessed at 100.  If someone would like to make an amendment to lower it to 80 points, I’d support that.”

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More liquor licenses approved

The heavy work load of the Licensing & Permit Committee is starting to wind down as the end of the annual licensing term is approaching.  The last three meetings have seen scads of license applications, many of which had to be corrected or completed before they could be considered.  The term expires on June 30th and, according to deputy city attorney Matt Knight, there are still two more establishments which have not applied for license renewals.

At last night’s meeting, the following items were acted upon:

  • Six new operator’s (bartender) licenses were approved, most of which were subject to demerit points; another was deferred.

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Licensing & Permit Committee approved 100 point demerit for social hosting

Photo by Lukas Zeman via stock.xchng

At tonight’s Licensing & Permit Committee meeting, the committee unanimously voted to approve the ordinance change proposed by Alderperson Jesse Downing, and co-sponsored by Alderperson Michael Orth, to revise the demerit points assessed for Chapter X violations of the Kenosha Code of General Ordinances.  This chapter has to do with alcoholic beverages.

Chairman Jesse Downing explained that, when the social hosting ordinance was enacted in April, 2011, it was not added to the list of demerit point violations to be issued when contemplating licenses.  The issue came up recently due to a recent application for a bartender’s license where the applicant had been charged with social hosting.  Downing further explained that the committee felt that there is a definite difference between social hosting, which is intentional provision of alcohol to underage persons, and selling liquor to a minor, which may or may not be intentional.  The seller could have been given a false identification card, etc.  The committee wanted to make note of the difference.  Selling to a minor is listed with a 20-demerit point penalty.

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KMart again approved for beer license

Photo by Lukas Zeman via stock.xchng

This past Monday night, the Kenosha Common Council met for almost three hours.  One of the agenda items had to do with the approval of the renewal application of KMart Corporation, 4100 – 52nd Street, Maureen Madory, Agent, for a Class “A” retail beer license, subject to 40 demerit points.  The roll call vote was 15 to 2, with Alderpersons Anthony Kennedy (the alderperson of the district) and Jesse Downing voting against.

Kennedy made his sentiments known.  He stated that he felt that KMart shouldn’t have a liquor license at all, but he then made the motion that they be approved with the 40 demerit points attached.  He stated further, “I feel that Maureen Madory is the best qualified agent.  But promises were not kept.  There was an incident of selling to a minor.  I was told that the liquor would be kept in a different location, I was told that it would be under lock; it was not.  The controls that were promised were not put in place.  I believe Madory is the right person for the job.”

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KMart approved for beer license

The renewal application of KMart Corporation for a retail beer license generated some discussion among the Licensing & Permit Committee members on Tuesday night.  Chairman Jesse Downing said to the applicant, “I have nothing against you personally.  KMart Corporation changed agents.  There is not an adverse recommendation from the city attorney’s office.  However, KMart has received a citation; they should have demerit points attached to their license.”  Alderperson Patrick Juliana agreed.  The alderpersons said that they didn’t think it was appropriate to issue the license without some demerit points attached.  They said that they didn’t want to “set a bad precedent.”  Kennedy stated that he would not support the application at all.  “I don’t believe KMart should have a liquor license,” he said.  It was finally approved by a vote of 3 to 2, subject to 40 demerit points.  Alderpersons Kennedy and Chris Schwartz voted against.  The Common Council will have the final vote on this item, as well as the rest of the following items, on its agenda next Monday, June 4th.

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