Committee opts for tighter rules

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – The city should keep its current restrictions on where liquor license holders can do business.

The Ad-hoc Liquor License Ordinance Study Committee voted Thursday to recommend keeping the city’s current rule – which is stricter than state law – on how far away from schools and churches liquor license holders must be.

Any business serving or selling liquor cannot be within 300 feet of the main entrance of any school or church, by state law.

While that law does allow a local city council to waive that restriction, Plymouth’s ordinance does not include that language, so the council cannot presently make that waiver.

That was one of the reasons cited by Mayor Donald Pohlman when he vetoed the City Council’s approval of a liquor license for the Generations inter-generational center over a year ago.

Council President Charles Hansen, a member of the study committee, moved to add the council waiver language to the city code.

Hansen argued for giving the council authority to waive the restriction if it feels there is good reason to do so.

“Why should we be more restrictive than the state?,” Alderman Jim Faller, another committee member, asked.

“Who’s more to respect, our schools and churches or the person who wants a license,” Alderman Greg Hildebrand, also on the committee, responded. “If you say yes to one, then who do you say no to?”

“It’s that hard fence to walk, but I’m comfortable with the way this is stated. I don’t want to let the waiver in,” committee member Sue Kaiser said of the current language in the ordinance.

Hansen’s motion was defeated by a vote of 5-2, with only Faller and Hansen voting in favor.

The committee also voted to retain language that places the restriction on all class A and B licenses, not just class A retail licenses as is in the state law.


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