New London lifts booze ban
Gas stations may now carry liquor, wine
By Scott Bellile
Historically restricted to beer for their alcohol sales, New London convenience stores now may carry liquor and wine.
The New London City Council on May 11 unanimously approved an ordinance expanding the list of retail businesses that can hold Class A liquor licenses from grocers and liquor stores to gas stations.
The council adopted the ordinance in one reading rather than the usual two so it can approve next year’s liquor licenses at the June meeting. “Small businesses, we’re trying to help them out as much as we can and not limit them to what they can sell, so I think it’s good for the city,” Ald. Tim Roberts said when the Finance and Personnel Committee recommended the ordinance to the council on May 3.
“It’s kind of funny we had them limited for years, you know?” Council President John Hass said of gas stations.
“Yeah, they were not happy about that,” City Clerk Nicole Ryerson said, “and they’re happy at the prospect of being able to sell liquor.”
Gas stations were uniquely limited to Class A beer licenses in New London, unlike their counterparts in surrounding communities.
For what reason?
“So my question is, what has been the reasoning for not permitting gas stations to sell liquor in the past?” Ald. BaLynda Croy asked at an earlier finance meeting on April 5.
“It’s been in there a while, and I really don’t know if it was like a puritanical thing or if it was lobbying from places that could sell liquor,” Ryerson said of the ordinance.
Gas station owners have regularly complained about their competitive disadvantage when they renewed their annual beer licenses,
Ryerson said. “Their argument is why does a liquor store get to sell liquor and a convenience store not,” Ryerson said.
Class A licenses allow for carryout sales of alcohol. Consumption on-site is forbidden.
In contrast, Class B licenses are held by restaurants and bars and allow for alcohol consumption inside the establishment.
The state limits the number of Class B licenses issued per municipality. Quotas are not placed on Class A licenses.
Other council approvals
The authorization of $3.8 million in bonds to finance expenses including street repairs, the downtown reconstruction project,
• Conversion of the First State Bank building into the library, equipment for firefighters and a road grader vehicle.
• Resolution to assess property owners on West Quincy Street from Wyman to Smith streets for replacement of their water laterals.
• $263,133 contract with Holton Brothers Inc. of Grafton to repair the exterior of Hatten Stadium.
• $47,358 contract with Holton Brothers to repair 40 feet of Hatten Park’s stone wall along Werner-Allen Road.
• $17,993 contract with Radke Contractors Inc. of Winneconne to replace rip-rap along the Bernegger River Walk.
• Designs for new streetlights and parking stalls to be incorporated into the downtown reconstruction project.
• Stop signs for six uncontrolled intersections, the majority on Dexter Street. Included is the intersection of McKinley and West Waupaca streets, one block west of Domino’s Pizza, which has generated complaints.