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Commission, residents discuss city liquor licensing

Dickinson resident Jayne Ridl asked the city to "get the ball rolling" on if or how an additional liquor license will be issued in Dickinson during a Tuesday evening City Commission meeting.

Ridl is seeking a liquor license to open a dance club in the city. City ordinance allows for an additional license to be issued due to population growth.

However, adding another license to the city will take time, officials said Tuesday. Mayor Dennis Johnson said they should have a policy in place so they don't have to go through the same procedures down the road.

"The ball is rolling, I think we're taking a prudent course of action here," Johnson said. "The present ordinance gives us no process, no procedure on how to do this."

Commissioner Rod Landblom said he thinks a committee should be formed to research the issue. However, Johnson said he wants the issue reflected for the 2011 budget.

"I actually think we've had enough information here where we could make a reasonable draft of an ordinance and work through it," Johnson said.

The city could do away with a limit on licenses, but Johnson said limiting the amount of liquor licenses makes the licenses more valuable.

He said a new license will be worth anywhere from $100,000 to $200,000 to an establishment.

"I personally would not be in favor of the city issuing that license, say, for $3,500, because an individual could take and turn around and sell it and ... make a quick profit," Johnson said.

He added he would like to see a new license bid out. However, Ridl said it would be hard to know where to start bidding.

"Somebody could come in and over bid me by $50,000," Ridl said.

Commissioner Klayton Oltmanns is not in favor of issuing another license. He thinks Ridl should buy an existing license from a business owner.

"I also think that without anybody getting a liquor license, we're protecting a lot of establishments that don't want change," Ridl said. "In all reality, we're just keeping everybody at a content stage with no competition and letting nobody come in."

Oltmanns also said an additional liquor license would impact police and social services. He thinks annual renewal fees should be increased to keep up, he added.

City Administrator Shawn Kessel laid out several options for issuing a new liquor license and commissioners will review those options and hold public hearings on the issue.

Jason Polanchek, co-owner of The Evil Olive Pizzeria and Bar, asked the commission to change his liquor license, which doesn't currently allow him to move the license from the building.

One option the city has is to issue his bar a full license and count that as the additional license, which would not make another license available.

In other business:

- The final plats for KLD and QCM subdivisions and Prairie Hills Sixth Addition were approved. Commissioners also approved the first readings to rezone QCM Subdivision and Prairie Hills Sixth Addition. They also approved moving forward with annexing KLD subdivision.

- Commissioners approved the reading of a change in how city employees' pension plans and trust are distributed.

- Commissioners ratified hiring Renee Passch as Dickinson library director.

- National Train Day is now July 6 in Dickinson.