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City Council nixes Double D Club liquor license renewal

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News Willmar, 56201
West Central Tribune
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Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council has not renewed the liquor license for the Double D Club, 1312 Lakeland Dr. S.E., citing delinquent utility payments, failed liquor compliance checks and constant noise issues.

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Municipal Code prohibits issuing an on-sale liquor license (which allows consumption of alcohol on the premises) to a person or entity that is delinquent in payment to the Willmar Municipal Utilities, wrote Police Chief Jim Kulset in a memorandum to City Clerk Kevin Halliday and made available to council members Monday night.

Not only is Double D presently delinquent to the Municipal Utilities, the club has not paid on time any of the previous 12 months and the club has received several termination of service notices, Halliday told council members.

Even if Double D owner Duane Duenow of Arlington were to get his utility payments up to date, the council should still consider not renewing his liquor license, wrote Kulset. The council voted 7-0 to uphold the recommendation and to not renew the license.

Halliday cited other issues:

* The club failed a liquor compliance check on March 27, 2010, and also had one on Oct. 24, 2008.

* For the hours that the club is open, usually Friday and Saturday nights, there are a disproportionate number of police calls for service to that address. The department responded to 59 calls for service to that address in 2009.

* The city and county sanitarian have been involved with food service issues at the club.

* Duenow was cited four times in 2009 for violating the city's noise ordinance. The DJ has also been cited. Even after Duenow appeared at the Public Works/Safety Committee to address neighbors' noise concerns, no significant improvements have been made to eliminate noise as evidenced by the continued complaints.

Halliday noted other problems. The club was posted on the Minnesota Department of Revenue's list of businesses delinquent on payment of taxes and is prohibited by state law from buying or receiving alcohol from any wholesaler, manufacturer or brewer.

Halliday said Duenow missed the deadline by five weeks for submitting the license renewal application, and the club is currently shut down for that untimely submittal.

In the submittal, Duenow led the city to believe that the club had workers' compensation insurance with SFM Insurance to run the food establishment service. Halliday said Duenow may have used the company in the past, but the coverage expired as of Jan. 26, 2010, and the club had been running without at least showing any ability to carry insurance.

Halliday said state law requires local licensing agencies to withhold the issuance or renewal of a license to operate a business until that applicant presents acceptable evidence of compliance with workers' compensation insurance coverage. "Double D Club has failed to do that,'' Halliday said.

In other business, the council received a report from the Public Works/Safety Committee, which had discussed recent incidents in which pedestrians said the 10th Street Southwest railroad crossing is unsafe. Committee chairman Doug Reese said staff has been investigating possible improvements. Cost estimates approach $300,000.

Council member Bruce DeBlieck said the crossing is in bad shape.

Public Works Director Mel Odens told the Tribune on Friday that Assistant City Engineer Holly Wilson met with Burlington Northern Santa Fe staff at the crossing Thursday morning. The crossing has five tracks: three are owned by the railroad and two are owned by the municipal utilities.

Odens said the railroad prefers to close the crossing. Odens said his department will prepare a cost estimate for a shared improvement project with the railroad.

In other business, the council:

* Accepted a $100 donation from the Parkinson's Support Group to buy a Wii system for the Community Center.

* Denied a tax abatement request from Willmar Forklift on the basis that the abatement would create a competitive advantage over an existing business.

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David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150
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