February 2, 2016

Council debates liquor licenses

By Jerry W. Kram

The New Town City council decided not to expand the number of liquor licenses in the city, but will consider expanding the number of categories of licenses.

City Attorney Bill Woods said New Town has traditionally based the number of liquor licenses on its population. Since the last census in 2010, there has been a significant increase in New Town’s population, but the new census data will not be available until 2020. He said if the council wishes, there is nothing in North Dakota state law that requires the city to use population to set the number of liquor licenses it offers.

Council member Jay Standish said that he didn’t think the city needs any more full liquor licenses for bars or liquor stores. However, he thinks the current limit on licenses could be hurting New Town and preventing an entrepreneur from opening a steakhouse style restaurant here. He would like to see a new category of license just for dining establishments.

Currently, New Town has three categories of licenses, full on and off sale, a hotel license and a seasonal license. There are seven full licenses in use, a seasonal license for the golf course and a hotel license for Teddy’s Lounge. One of the full licenses that could be converted to a restaurant license is held by the China Express.

The council directed Woods to draw up an ordinance for discussion at the next council meeting. If the ordinance passes a first reading, a public hearing would be required before it can be adopted.


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