City Council talks alcohol: Wine, liquor, licensesThe City Council voted yes at its Tuesday night meeting to issue wine-only licenses in River Falls.
By: Debbie Griffin, River Falls Journal
The City Council voted yes at its Tuesday night meeting to issue wine-only licenses in River Falls.
According to the background given with the law, an establishment can get a Class C wine license if it serves meal-type food and as long as alcohol sales don’t exceed 50% of its gross receipts.
As the casual name implies, the $100 wine-only license entitles the owner to serve just that one type of alcoholic beverage.
City Clerk Lu Ann Hecht said last month, after the law’s first reading, that the state agriculture department says a wine-only license holder should serve sandwiches, soups, salads and other food.
Hecht said a bakery or coffee shop serving only muffins or biscotti for example, would not qualify for a Class C wine license.
Local laws had never allowed for wine-only licenses before last night. The council added the topic to the agenda after local businessman Eric Anderson — who will open the new Kinni Coffee & Lounge Monday — asked about them.
Police Chief Roger Leque presented a draft ordinance for discussion that he has worked on with staff members for a few years.
Leque said the paperwork outlines requirements the city could put into place for when someone requests a new liquor license or renewal of one.
The rules address some of the difficulties River Falls has experienced when issuing past liquor licenses.
The draft contains suggested criteria council members can use to scrutinize license applications.
Perhaps the most significant new requirement would be for the owner requesting a license to also submit a business plan containing information about operations, staff, training, parking, security, advertising, drink specials and more.
Mayor Don Richards commented during discussion, “All the better to have an ordinance that spells it all out.”
“I think it’ll be helpful to the applicants, too,” said Council Member David Cronk.
Council members agreed to have a first reading of the law on its Feb. 26 agenda and discussed notifying bar owners of the opportunity to comment at that meeting.
The council approved Mayor Don Richards’ appointment of a four-member City Hall Design and Construction Committee: Dennis Behnke, Roy Lund, Jim Nordgren and Virgil Nylander.
They will help guide Frisbie Architects through the next approved phase of work — designing the building.
Council Member Tom Caflisch voiced displeasure.
“This committee is four people, and I think citizens have a right to know that three of those people don’t live in River Falls.”
Caflisch said at least some of the 14,000 people in the city should have a say in the city’s biggest-ever construction project.
Reach Debbie Griffin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 426-1048.