City commission discusses future changes to liquor license ordinance
By Katie Jones, editor
The Mandan City Commission met Tuesday in a working session to openly discuss several issues concerning the city of Mandan. One such issue that is sparking debate among business owners is related to liquor licenses.
Commissioners mulled over putting a new Class A liquor license up for bid and wondered if the wording associated with the liquor licenses should be better clarified. The debate turned a corner when Commissioner Dot Frank brought up the notion to take a better look at measuring the number of liquor licenses permitted annually.
Last April, the Mandan City Commission passed a liquor license ordinance that would increase the number of licenses based on housing permits, not the census.
Currently, for every 500 living units throughout the city, the liquor license ordinance allows one more retail on- and off-sale license, one more off-sale alcoholic license and two more exclusive retail off-sale beer and wine licenses.
However, continued debate has spurred the interest of entrepreneurs and business owners alike. Several new business owners have voiced concerns about the availability of liquor licenses.
Cy Fix is associated with Cenex and asked what is the purpose of setting a limit to liquor licenses. City Administrator, Jim Neubauer, explained the “limit” method has been in place since prohibition. Last year the commission changed the limit to base the numbers on living units instead of waiting for the census every ten years.
Ultimately there is a taboo associated with liquor sales, said commissioner, Frank.
Other cities across North Dakota do not set a limit such as Grand Forks; thus, the commission wants to research other towns across N.D. to see how they handle liquor licenses.
As far as the issue of counting living units, the commission will do a recount and come back at the next meeting with a number that business owners’ hope is over 500.
The commission agreed changes need to be made to the current liquor license ordinance, and would like to hear the public voice their opinions on the issue at the next meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 5 p.m.