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City allows two liquor licenses

DICKINSON - Sometimes small steps are better than giant leaps.

The Dickinson City Commission approved an amendment to the alcoholic beverage license ordinance on Tuesday, which allows a person to own two licenses.

The commissioners have been debating the license amendment since mid-November. Early on, they considered revising the ordinance to allow unlimited licenses.

"It's an incremental approach, so it's safer policy when it comes to these kind of things," City Administrator Greg Sund said.

The vote passed unanimously - and went into effect immediately - but Sund said it might warrant further discussion.

"When a final decision was made, they voted for the mayor's proposal, but I think it took a little more discussion," Sund said.

After two public hearings, Mayor Dennis Johnson suggested amending the ordinance to limit the number of licenses anyone can hold.

"I just think the more prudent step is to go from one to two," Johnson said. "We can always, as time goes on, increase it."

Johnson said, however, if the city had gone from one to unlimited, it would be harder to reverse the decision in the future.

"It's been one forever; I don't know if it has ever been different from that," Sund said.

While it's not specifically in the code, Sund said through the application process, the city will track whether the corporations that have changed liquor license ownership.

"Otherwise, you could have a change in ownership in a corporation and have no way of knowing whether it changed," Sund said. "It was good, too, in the amendment to have discussion of what indirect ownership is or isn't."

According to the amended code, indirect ownership exists whenever a person has any financial interest whatsoever in the business conducted at the licensed location.

Regardless of whether ownership is direct or indirect, a person cannot own more than two licenses.

During the commission's previous meeting, City Attorney Matt Kolling said a person is defined as an individual, a partnership or a corporation.

Once the amendment was approved, the commissioners unanimously passed the first request to own more than one license.

TH Investments LLC, which owns Liquor Warehouse in the north part of town, is in the process of purchasing Southview Liquors south of town.