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Stillwater Alcohol Amendment Passes, Penalty Will Be 'Pretty Draconian,' Police Chief Says

The Stillwater City Council on Tuesday night unanimously approved an amendment to the city's liquor ordinance.

The Stillwater City Council on Tuesday night unanimously approved an amendment to the city's liquor ordinance.

The amendment is aimed at “improving conduct” at some drinking establishments in downtown Stillwater.

From now until the end of the year, city staff will work out the details of how conduct-related incidents and violations will impact the establishment's liquor license, Stillwater City Attorney Dave Magnuson said.

The amendment reads that an establishment may be cited after any combination of 10 conduct-related violations—within a one-year period—within a drinking establishment and on the licensed premises.

If five citations for unlawful conduct are issued within a calendar year, a designated member of the Stillwater Police Department must meet and confer with the liquor license holder; and a copy of any citation must be sent in the mail to the liquor license holder.

Looking back, Stillwater Mayor Ken Harycki asked, would any bar or restaurant bump up against 10 conduct-related violations in one year?

"Oh yes," Stillwater Police Chief John Gannaway said. "It's usually one every so often that this ordinance will be designed to handle."

The response to habitual offenders of the liquor ordinance "will be pretty draconian," Gannaway said. "This is an establishment we are having major issues with and they are not receptive to us working with them." 

UPDATED FROM:

The Stillwater City Council on Tuesday will take up the second reading of a proposed amendment aimed at giving the city’s liquor ordinance “more teeth.”

In October, the Stillwater City Council unanimously approved the first reading of an amendment aimed at “improving conduct” at some drinking establishments.

Currently, the city’s ordinance covers a variety of issues ranging from selling alcohol after hours and serving minors to tax evasion, but nothing that holds liquor license holders accountable for the conduct in and around their establishment, City Attorney David Magnuson has said.

The new amendment to the city ordinance includes several provisions that define “habitual violators” and would allow the city to issue citations for violations that are found by the city to be unacceptable.

If the amendment passes, the city's liquor code would include disorderly conduct, assault, unlawful assembly, noise violations and trespassing.

But after hearing concerns from a group of Stillwater restaurant owners—about the ambiguity of the language in the amendment, a lack of discourse between city officials and liquor-license holders and the uncertainty of the financial consequences of the amendment—the council tabled the proposal to engage in more discussion.

The bar owner’s group and the police chief have met to discuss the proposed amendment, and Stillwater Mayor Ken Harycki said it’s his understanding that the new language was mutually agreed upon.

The first reading of the proposed amendment read that any combination of six conduct-related incidents reported at a drinking establishment—as well as on the streets and sidewalks adjacent to the bar—could mean a violation and citation.  

The revised proposal reads that an establishment may be cited after any combination of 10 conduct-related incidents reported—within a one-year period—within a drinking establishment and on the licensed premises.

If five citations for unlawful conduct are issued within a calendar year, a designated member of the Stillwater Police Department must meet and confer with the liquor license holder; and a copy of any citation must be sent in the mail to the liquor license holder.

The Council will vote on the second reading of the proposed amendment to “Stillwater Liquor Code Chapter 43” at 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

Susan December 07, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Haha, I've seen him there with the whole family. I hope he frequents the establishments in his own city, supporting those businesses, as well.
Shawn Smalley December 08, 2012 at 09:35 AM
I wish that he'd come and see me. Maybe his family's been in, I don't know. I do wish that that he's come and talk to me about everything that's been going on in town. I know that he's busy, i get it. But this has been HUGE lately and not so much as a "how's it going". Maybe I should reach out? But you know what? I do a ton of reaching out all over the community and give all over, maybe I want someone to care about me for a change(btw thanks to everyone who has) It'd be nice to know that that the most powerful man in town cares about the biggest issue we've had in a while. I want a safe town(it is) and I just want things to continue to get better. But I think that individually talking with STIlLWATER restaurant owners would be a great place to start. Hell he's even welcome to my house for dinner to talk about things! Anyone else want to come over for dinner??
Shawn Smalley December 08, 2012 at 09:42 AM
Sorry for writing in code. It's been a very long day and pirates are notorious for poor grammar, reading, spelling and foul language(but I think I kept that one in check)
Scott in Wisconsin December 08, 2012 at 10:49 PM
"Damn ye altogether: damn them for a pack of crafty rascals, and you, who serve them, for a parcel of hen-hearted numbskulls. They vilify us, the scoundrels do, when there is only this difference, they rob the poor under the cover of law, forsooth, and we plunder the rich under protection of our own courage; had you not better make one of us, than sneak after the asses of those villains" The pirate Black Sam Bellemy on his view of politicians
Shawn Smalley December 10, 2012 at 07:58 AM
Ha! I bet said that just before he got the noose! Odd how that almost exactly translates to this, but if you want to give me the noose you'll be talking to the business end of my cutlass first!

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