October 9th, 2012
Village Board makes a change to Beer Garden Ordinance
Submitted by Rick A. Talford
ELMWOOD – The Village met for the monthly meeting at the village hall on Monday evening. A Public Hearing was held before the regular board meeting. The hearing was for discussion on Ordinance 7-2-19. In the recent past, tavern owner Bob Rupakus was questioning the wording of the Ordinance as it was written. A permit was requested for the Longbranch to hold a bean bag activity outside the tavern. He told the village office that it was only going to be a few times, but then made it a regular activity. The original request for a permit was denied, but he was given a verbal okay to have the activity a couple times. Once it became often, a few complaints were received from residents. The activity was being held, without any fencing around the area that was being used. Alcohol from the tavern was taken outside of the bar, into an open lot. The village has an ordinance in place, enforcing the use of a barricade or fence of some form around this type of activity. A change in the height was made, allowing a four foot fence to be used instead of a six foot that was required. Another change was made, allowing a “Day use fence”, which the taverns can erect before the activity, and take it back down within twenty-four hours of the events conclusion. This would be for re-occurring events that may be held weekly. This could be used, instead of a permanent fence being erected. Rupakus did not fence the area, stating the ordinance was not clear. The words may/shall were being used to get around the ordinance as written. The village decided that this needed to be corrected, as they felt Rupakus was exploiting this. Both the Sandbar and Dick’s Bar have similar activities, and both have been required to have fencing. During the hearing, Rupakus accused the board of targeting his bar. He added, “This is just another hoop we have to jump through. This is a burden to my business. Nobody leaves my bar DUI, driving into buildings or getting killed”. This of course is a belief, not a fact. Trustee Neil Boltic spoke on behalf of the board. He explained to Rupakus “We don’t take changing an ordinance lightly, but when there are grey areas being exploited, the board needs to make changes to ensure compliance”. Boltic tried to make it clear that the board, in no way was targeting the Longbranch, and was sorry if Rupakus was taking it that way. This did very little, as Rupakus disagreed. Rupakus then stated “What if I simply drop the license, and have the event on private property ?” You could sense that this was another way of getting around the ordinance, and the board members were cautious with their response. This would create more legal issues for the bar owner, if he decides to go that direction. Trustee Mike Sand spoke in regards to the subject, stating “You only need to fence in the area that is being used, and it is not that hard to do”. Rupakus responded by saying the board members could volunteer to put the fence up each week then, if they didn’t believe it was too hard. The hearing was then adjourned.
The regular board meeting was then started, with Trustee’s Brian Buck and Susan Dzubay being absent. Citizens in attendance were: Elizabeth Delong, Marian Yauch and Bob Rupakus, with his daughter. Officer Matt Broehm was also in attendance. Public Input was the first area covered by the board. Rupakus insisted again, that he felt the ordinance change was unnecessary, and was only making another hoop for him to jump through. There was no response by the board. The meeting then went onto the next item on the agenda. The Elmwood Rod and Gun had requested a Picnic License and Temporary Operator’s Licenses for October 20. This was unanimously approved. Three Operator’s Licenses for the Longbranch were also approved for Jared Seeger, Mandy Pfingsten and Renae Stohr. The approval of Ordinance 7-2-19 Changes was completed, with Trustee Mike Sand abstaining from the vote.
The next area for discussion was then spoke over and tabled, due to Fire Chief Mike Shields not being in attendance. The Fire Dept. is requesting the village financing a purchase of a new “Brush Truck”. This is a pickup that is used in brush fires. The old one in becoming unreliable. Village President Bill Stewart spoke to the board with what information he knew. “The Dept. would like to get a one ton truck, that has an extended cab with four doors. The Dept. feels they can get this off the ground for 35K.” The area being covered through the Elmwood Fire Dept. includes, Rock Elm, Lucas, El Paso, Eau Galle, Weston and Spring Lake. These areas are all under a corporation, and everyone pays in by population and/or square miles covered. Stewart then said “It’s out turn to support a loan, and this is the perfect set-up for us. This is a low amount for a purchase”. Trustee Mike Sand then thought it would be best for the entire board to be present for this, as well as the Fire Dept. representative needs to be present with all the final numbers to be considered. This was agreed upon by all members present.
In Committee and Board Reports: Trustee Trisha Knops provided information from the Nursing Home Committee. There was information from August and September that needed to be brought up to date with the board. The Nursing Home approved a new roof on the gazebo and storage building. The cost being approximately 18K. There was also approval for the exterior areas of the building to be painted and stained. This cost being $9,725. “The Finance Report was completed, and we are in excellent shape”, she added. There was a inspection done, with a five star rating received. She then explained to the members, the Nursing Home is accepting bids for asphalt repair to be done in the parking lot. She completed her report by adding “We are always continuing updates to keep up with local competition”.
Trustee Knops then provided a report for the Library Committee. Circulation was down a little for August and September. There is plenty of weeding out that is getting done at this point. The fiction, VHS, juvenile and young readers sections are all being gone through, to bring things up to date on what is being read. There is also help from the school librarian, to update the teen section. The Committee also approved the hiring of Mandy Pfingsten as an assistant. She will be working approximately eight hours a week, and will be part of the “Story Time” on Wed. mornings. The Personnel Policy was tabled, due to the lack of a few members attending the meeting, concluded her report.
Trustee Neil Boltic told the board members “We covered the Licensing Committee issue pretty well already”. There were no other committee reports to be provided this month. The meeting then adjourned at 7:25 PM.
As a reminder, Please be very careful this Halloween for all those little spooks running the streets. Drive extra slow in town, you never know when a youngster may decide to run into the street.