Liquor Control Commission denies liquor license for councilman

By Gus Bode

Following a light City Council meeting, the city’s Liquor Control Commission denied an application for a Class A1 liquor license for the upcoming restaurant Fat Patties, owned by councilman and commission member Lance Jack.

The license would have permitted Fat Patties to serve beer and wine.

Councilwoman Mary Pohlmann made the motion to deny the application and said granting the license to Jack’s business would not be in the best interest of the city, which provides grounds to deny the application in section 2-4-5 of the city’s liquor code. Councilman Joel Fritzler said a conflict of interest would arise if Jack had a liquor license and remained on the City Council and Liquor Control Commission.

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‘ ‘Especially in our current economic times, I think any chance that we have to create new jobs in town, we need to,’ Jack said. ‘Am I going to fail in this business without this class A1 license? I hope not. Is my profit margin going to be more sustainable with a class A1 license? Yes, it will be.’

Jack cited the comprehensive plan review committee’s recommendation to revamp the city’s downtown area as a reason he chose to fill a building that had previously been empty in that area and wants to cater to the entire community by offering beer and wine at that facility.

‘We pay a lot of lip service to economic development,’ Jack said. ‘This is one example of me putting my money where my mouth is. Carbondale is my home and I want to do my best to see it prosper.’

Councilwoman Corene McDaniel agreed with Jack, stating he should be treated as any other citizen or business owner approaching the commission. She said members, as citizens, often have conflicts of interest, but remove themselves when necessary without problem. She said the license to serve alcohol would be vital to Jack’s business.

She said he should be looked at as a businessman who could improve the downtown area and help Carbondale.

Because Carbondale is a college town, liquor licenses come before the commission too regularly to remove Jack from the decision making process, Fritzler said.

‘In my opinion it would put a hardship on the rest of the council and the rest of the liquor commission by having six people to do the job,’ Fritzler said.

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Councilman Chris Wissmann said he did not support the license at this time, but wished for a positive route to resolve the situation.

Jack said the council contradicted their usual promises to help business owners succeed in Carbondale by denying the license.

‘We’re going to do our darnedest to survive no matter the outcome,’ Jack said. ‘We talk over and over about giving businesses the tools they need to survive.’

In other business, the council approved the final resolution for the planned unit development of phase two of Prairie Living, an assisted living facility at 900 Villa Court, just off Chautauqua Road.

The council also approved and adopted an identity theft program to protect city customers, most prominently Water Department customers, from identity theft by complying with the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003. The rules under the act became effective in November, but the city had until May to implement its program.

An ordinance annexing 7.6 acres on Glenn Road and a resolution approving the Damian Estates Subdivision, subdivision agreement and variance request were approved.

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