The liquor ordinance was again the topic at the Village of Petersburg Board meeting held last Tuesday evening, Nov. 6, 2018.
Rae Valley Market had requested permission to sell beer and wine earlier in the day on Sundays. The board had no issue with this and voted to approve. Other spirits cannot be sold until 12 noon by state statute.
Knotty Pine owner Dustin Guthard was present to request a change in the present ordinance allowing him to do business on Sunday without a special permit and to remain open to a later hour.
He again stated that it is not his purpose to be open every Sunday.
If someone wants to have a special celebration without the change, it could take a month to get a special permit. Due to this, he felt he must come to the board with that request. He felt the way the ordinance is written that it’s not fair to him.
Chairman Stokes reiterated his understanding was Guthard was not planning to be open every Sunday. Guthard replied, “That is what I said.”
Guthard said he already had turned down three or four parties.
Legion members noted that it would have added up to a whole month.
Trustee Werner added, “Right now, you can be open 1-8 p.m. for beer and wine. It’s possible there could be a special event every Sunday.”
Guthard said if we go that route I will be open every Sunday. However, the Legion can be open a couple of hours.
If allowed to be open, he would not have to apply for a special permit.
He does not plan to sell food because it takes too many man hours. He said the Legion, right now, has graduation parties or other events on any night. They have fish fries every Tuesday during Lent and serve food during the carnival.
Guthard stated, “I volunteer, donate money and pay taxes.”
Stokes stressed the board does not want to harm any business that wants to make money. He felt the situation was that everyone involved had dug their heels in and hoped there would be a way to appease both sides. It would be nice if we could talk a little more.
Legion members felt there was a threat of closing the Legion.
Legionnaire Ray Thieman said the American Legion here was formed in 1922. Since then, the town board has regulated in their favor. They said the Legion is comprised of men and women who have served their country, and risk their lives.
Thieman felt any language put into an ordinance would stay with that business forever, no matter who the owner is. Without a doubt, the Legion would be hurt.
Thieman said that when the former owner Butch Arends was open on Sundays, neither place made money. We get half our income from the fish fries and half from the bar. Without the bar, we can’t survive.
The Legion is a nonprofit organization.
Guthard stated, “This bar means something to me. I do not see it hurting the Legion.”
Thieman stated that when that bar is open, we lose money.
Stokes felt neither side wants to talk about it. He added, “We want what’s best for all.”
Guthard felt that his business does not take Legion people away. Mostly, I get people from off the street.
Hank Thieman felt if he (Guthard) is having only a few events, maybe a $40 permit is not that high. As is, Knotty Pine can have six special permits a year.
Guthard said, “If it was my intention to be open every Sunday, I’d be open now.”
The board felt there may be no happy medium in the issue.
A suggestion was made that maybe it could be tailored to the present owner.
Board members felt that they then would have to change the ordinance with each new owner.
Trustee Steve Werner saw a possibility of maybe one a month for a special event.
Guthard said. “What if three or four people want to come in? I don’t want to tell them no.”
Trustee Ashley Thieman felt that did not seem fair.
Ray Thieman stated basically you’re saying you could have been open every Sunday.
The board will set a date for a special meeting and move on.
Guthard requested to have Keno at the Knotty Pine. He said, “It’s a great way to get money for the town.”
Read the complete story in the Nov. 14 Albion News & Petersburg Press, Print and E-Editions.