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Kinnickinnic considers need for liquor licensing law

Kinnickinnic Town Board members spent most of their regular meeting Jan. 8 debating whether any business applying for a liquor license should be zoned commercial or not.

Scott and Julie Andrzejczak, 1105 Coulee Trail, plan to open a vineyard and winery called 65 Vines at that address.

They were approved for a special exception permit last November. This allows them to operate the winery and offer tastings.

The permit does not allow them to sell their products at the winery or anywhere else or for selling wine by the glass or bottle to be drunk at the winery.

To do those things, the Andrzejczaks need a liquor license.

The debate between board members is the type of liquor license to grant and also if they want to allow consumption by the glass onsite.

"First of all, we need an agreement on what we want to achieve," Supervisor Axel Bogdan said.

Scott Andrzejczak said most wineries in the state use a Class B liquor license. This allows people to drink wine at the winery itself.

Many Town Board members were confused why Andrzejczak wants to allow for onsite wine consumption. They thought the Andrzejczaks only wanted to make and sell wine, plus have a small tasting room.

Chairman Roger VanBeek said a Class A liquor license would be enough because it encompasses everything Andrzejczak wants to do: Grow the grapes, make the wine, bottle it, sell it onsite and off, and offer samplings.

Andrzejczak said most of his sales will be for offsite consumption to restaurants and bars, but he wants the winery to serve as a business model where people are allowed to drink the product.

He said he's already restricted with the hours of operation and number of people allowed at the winery at a time. He wants people to be able to buy a glass of wine or share a bottle out on the patio.

Andrzejczak said the winery will be open three months a year, three days a week from noon to 6 p.m.

Appointments will last 30 minutes with ten people allowed per appointment. He hopes to produce 500 gallons a year to start.

Van Beek said he knows people living near Vino in the Valley in the town of Oak Grove in Pierce County who are upset by the noise and volume of customers at that winery, which allows onsite consumption.

They never knew the business would grow so much in size and were unaware what was being built next to them, Van Beek said.

He also said that requiring businesses holding Class B liquor licenses to be zoned commercial would be beneficial in protecting the residents around the business.

"What it really boils down to is if the board is willing to go down that road," Van Beek said. "There is more protection for residents and neighbors around them if zoning is attached."

Supervisor Bill Gnatzig said the board is struggling with allowing 65 Vines to sell wine by the glass because it could become a precedent for allowing bars or onsite consumption in the town.

A baseball team at a ball field that wants to sell alcohol was given as an example.

"At least it (commercial zoning) makes it come back to the table," Gnatzig said.

Van Beek said the town has gotten by a long time without a liquor licensing law, but the board can't let it slide any longer.

Until a law is drafted and the board decides what type of license to grant the Andrzejczaks, they can only do tastings but no selling for onsite or offsite consumption.

Gnatzig said the board is trying to take steps forward, even small ones, to get the issue settled for the winery.

Deputy Zoning Administrator Joe Grandberg said he will do more research and contact St. Croix County for more information before anything is decided.

In other town news

  • Town residents will be able to use the new recycling center at the Town Hall beginning Jan. 26. A crushed rock pad will be installed there in the spring for the new recycling bins. The town will also be looking into security measures since the site will be open 24 hours a day.
  • The board passed a resolution amending the fee schedule for the billing of fire calls. A base call for a one-vehicle accident will be $800. A two-vehicle accident will be $600 each. A three-or-more-vehicle accident will be $500 each.
  • Clerk Lola Higgins confirmed candidates for spring elections. Supervisors Dave Nelson and Axel Bogdan are running unopposed. Jerry Olson, 322 Sherwood Forest, will be running for chair unopposed. Van Beek is not running again.
  • The board also amended the fine to be imposed per day, per incident on anyone or company who starts or operates any nonmetallic mining enterprise during the moratorium. The penalty was set at $1 million per day, but the board changed it to $10,000 per day.

    The town's lawyer said the original $1 million per day fine was too high and unrealistic and a court would not take it seriously.

    The court would impose the fine, not the town, if anyone violated the law during the moratorium.

    Nelson said there are many eyes in the town and he isn't worried about anyone starting an illegal mining operation. When some bore testing was done on one property, he had six calls about it, he said.

  • Treasurer Brenda LaValley revised her tax collection hours at the Town Hall. She will no longer be available on Jan. 19. Hours on Jan. 26 are extended from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.