Village Board rejects liquor ordinance amendment
A debate on liquor licenses was the main topic of discussion for the Ellsworth Village Board Monday night.
Hans McCarthy, Team Leader for Pamida, came before the board with a request for a "Class A" Liquor/Beer license. He told the board Pamida's plans were to sell off-sale beer and wine, with no hard liquor.
As a result, he further requested the board amend local ordinance, which calls for a limit of one license per every 2,000 people in the village. McCarthy's request passed the Health, License and Welfare committee last month and he was seeking full board approval Monday.
At least one person voiced their displeasure to the board about the ordinance request.
"There's not enough people in this population to support two liquor stores," said Brad Marx, owner of Brad's Corner Liquor, who has the one license in the village. "I counted on this license not changing when I opened the business and, if it does, I won't be in business anymore."
McCarthy explained all of Pamida's stores sell beer and wine, and they're in the process of discontinuing hard liquor. If his approval was granted, he figured the retail space would be about 12 feet. To dispute the lack of people in the area, McCarthy said that, within a three mile radius of Ellsworth, there are 6,000 people.
Joanie Forss, owner of Snowball's Bar, worried about a precedent if the approval was granted. Village President Gerald DeWolfe stated that, if it was approved, Ellsworth could very well have 10 liquor stores.
Trustee David Deiss was torn, as he stated he didn't like the fact the village could only hand out one license, but felt it shouldn't be unlimited.
"If a feed mill, gas station or even if Wal-Mart comes in, we'd let them do it," he said. "I'm struggling with the protection for one business."
For more please read the May 7 print version of the Herald.