DAYTON — Dayton Town Council held a work-study session with Dayton’s attorney Brendon Kerns and Dayton liquor license holders Thursday to discuss repealing and replacing the town’s alcoholic beverage ordinance. The current state liquor laws will go into effect July 1. The state goal is to give local authorities more control.
Kerns said there are five major areas of concern for the town of Dayton.
Dispensing room changes
A definition change for dispensing rooms licenses the entire premise, allowing anyone access. Restaurants, though, will still need separate dispensing rooms. For bars, the building is the licensed premise where alcoholic beverages are served, unless otherwise approved by the town of Dayton.
“The purpose behind this is to limit the licensed area where alcohol can be consumed to the building and excluding the parking lot and the property that goes with it,” Kerns said. “If businesses want to extend alcohol consumption to a patio that is up to the town to approve and has to be included on the license application.”
Four bars and alcohol facilities voiced concerns regarding allowing beverages on attached patios and outdoor seating areas.
Kerns said the language for that would need to be addressed in order to continue to allow it. Patrons can currently purchase alcoholic beverages inside the building and drink them outside. Bars cannot dispense alcoholic beverages outside of the building without a permit.
Minors in bars and liquor stores
Currently, minors may enter licensed buildings with an adult 21 or over and may consume alcohol if the parent or guardian buys it for the minor and is in their physical presence.
“The town will have to discuss whether it is acceptable for them to sit on the patio at the Crazy Woman Saloon,” Kerns said. “I would also say that the consumption of alcohol by a minor is not acceptable, at least in terms of relating to liquor licenses.”
Townsend, Clawson and Herman said they would like to be able to allow minors to come into the bars with a parent or legal guardian. They would not allow minors to drink, but sit in a back room to eat lunch with their folks.
“In the summer we lose a lot of business because customers would like to come in out of the heat and have a soda and a burger with their kids, but they can’t because the kids have to stay outside,” Clawson said. “I would like to allow them to come in, but not be served alcohol.”
Mayor Norm Anderson said he has no problem with kids coming in with their parents for a burger, but he does have an issue with a dad buying a beer for his kid.
Kerns said he will address everyone’s issues, coordinate with Town Clerk Linda Lofgren on language and complete a draft so the bar owners can review it before the first reading on May 17.
Operational licenses include one change that requires all liquor licenses to be used. An exception to the rule is that businesses can receive a 1-year nonuse license, which used to be 2 years, and an additional 1-year nonuse exemption with a showing of good cause. Kerns said the parameters for “good cause” are not defined and need to be.
Removal of certain restrictions
The law prohibiting elected officials and law enforcement from owning a liquor license was removed from state statute. Anderson saw no issue with the change, but Councilor Laurie Walters-Clark asked for further discussion before settling Dayton’s ordinance.
Hours of operation
Hours of operation will remain the same — 6 a.m. to 2 a.m., seven days per week for bars and 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. for restaurants. Restaurants must stop serving alcohol by 10 p.m.