Owen Licensing and Ordinance Committee

Nicole Rogers

Owen Licensing and Ordinance Committee

3 mins
August 17, 2020

The Owen Licensing and Ordinance Committee met on Monday, August 17, 2020 at the Owen Community Center. Liquor license holders were invited to attend. Present at the meeting was: Officer Juzwiak, Chief Ibarra, Clerk/Treasurer Michelle Kind, Pam Jaffke, Bob Wilczek, Mayor Milliren, Kelly and Mark Hanson, Thirsty Squirrel, Tony and Stacey Wallace, L.A.S.T. Ace, Lakken Potocnic, Skunky’s Bar, Dick Petersen and Larry Hodnett, Woodland Hotel, Denny and Nancy Henke of the O-W Vets’ Club, Curt and Nancy Garrett, also of the O-W Vets’ Club, and Joan Jalling of Meadowview Golf Course.

The purpose of the meeting was to review classes of licenses, usage, availability and requests with current license holders. Recent liquor license requests ignited the investigation of current holders. It was reported that Red Daisy Girl wanted to sell wine during the art classes but to get a wine license you must sell food and have a food service area. Since a liquor license was not available, she settled on a beer license. El Piñal had requested a liquor license before Red Daisy so they could serve margaritas at their restaurant. 

The city currently secures six liquor licenses given to: Thirsty Squirrel, O-W Vet’s Club, Woodland Hotel, L.A.S.T. Ace, Skunky’s Bar, and Meadowview Golf Course. It was brought up at an earlier meeting that those who do not use their license regularly such as the O-W Vet’s Club and the Woodland Hotel, may want to give it up to the new businesses in town. 

Technically, a city the size of Owen should only be allowed five liquor licenses but since the sixth one was given in 1997 it was grandfathered in. Kelly Hanson of Thirsty Squirrel warned that if the state finds out that the licenses are not used they could take it away. However, a business is able to purchase a liquor license from the state if one is not available. It would cost an upfront fee of $10,000. The fee would be paid back to the city, but it was not clear how the money was to be used. 

Liquor license ordinances have been investigated in detail after El Pinal and Red Daisy Girl have requested Class B liquor licenses. Some business owners and council members did not think it was business forward to hold on to a liquor license without using it. It took some digging but a city ordinance was discovered which answered that concern. City Ordinance 7-2-17-B states that a business must be open for at least 150 days per year to keep a Class B Liquor License. This put the heat on two liquor license holders in town.

Denny Henke reported that the Vets’ Club does use the liquor license when they have dinners, meetings and parties and the club would like to keep it. The vets buy drinks which goes back into supporting the club. He was not sure they are open that many days but will be, now that they know the ordinance. 

Chief Ibarra asked the Woodland Hotel owners Dick Peterson and Larry Hodnett when they would be ready to open. Larry said he doesn’t know right now but would have a plan soon. Dick said they have been working on the Woodland for a few years and, since they are doing all the work themselves and doing it right, it is taking a long time. 

Woodland Hotel agent Tim Swiggum renewed the liquor license at the end of June, so the committee figured out to be open 150 days per year, the Woodland restaurant, or their basement Cavern Tavern, would have to be open by January 2021. 

The committee will forward the findings of this meeting to the city council for further discussion or decision-making.

This article was orginally reported by
Nicole Rogers

Nicole Rogers, lives in Owen, WI, and is the co-editor for the Sentinel & Rural News.