COUNCIL CHRONICLES 11.6.13
JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Liquor laws and license
The Darwiche family doesn’t have their liquor license just yet. The transfer of a coveted retail liquor license from the defunct Cadillac Grille to Woodshed, LLC stalled after councilman Jim Stanford questioned whether the new hotel going up at the site of the old Woods Hotel really needed the full boat permit which allows an establishment to package gin to go. Stanford seemed intent on rewriting antiquated state statute. Mayor Mark Barron preferred to apply the law as it’s now written but, as a side note, did ask for less black line on applications so the public would know who’s who.
“I’m not picking on the Darwiche family, and I think they know that,” Barron said, “but it seems to be an increasing issue. It’s a public document.”
Barron asked Roxanne Robinson and Audrey Cohen-Davis why nearly every detail of who exactly was applying for a liquor license transfer was censored out under “mascara” lines thicker than a Lady Gaga Halloween mask. Robinson said details like date of birth, addresses, phone numbers and social security numbers were blacked out. Barron asked Cohen-Davis to look into just what had to be scratched out and what was overboard.
Meanwhile, Stanford railed against state liquor laws crafted in the Prohibition Era designed to make believe beer was bad but it could mysteriously appear on your dinner table from an unseen magical space somewhere in the restaurant.
“This system that we have creates this delusion that I can go in this separate distribution room and pour a drink there … Nobody knows this better than the owners of the Cadillac Grille,” Stanford said, referring to Ken Rominger and Suzanne Marino, who sold the license to the Darwiches. “These licenses are distributed under an archaic system that makes kingmakers out of the town council and can potentially stifle entrepreneurship.”
“I’ve always wanted to have my own kingdom,” Barron cracked. “But the law is the law, and I always support the law.”
Barron added that it has been the town’s stance to disallow a package store operation on the town square even though a retail license would allow the holder to sell hootch to go.
Sadek Darwiche, representing Woodshed, told the council it was not his intent to peddle booze from a drive-up window or anything like that but would like to protect the future hotel’s ability to stock minibars in the rooms or send off guests on a float trip with a six-pack.
“For the record, I’m not entirely comfortable with the transfer,” Stanford continued. “I question if this is the best use of this license. If we are going to hamstring it, I wonder whether a restaurant liquor license wouldn’t be better.”
The council opted to put off a final decision until Robinson could look into whether the last transfer of the retail license – from Cadillac to the Teton Theatre – included a provision against walkout sales, and whether that might put the kibosh on minibars.
Less than halfway through a scheduling spat between WW Productions and the Teton County Fair Board disguised as a town council agenda item, the council realized they were being asked to referee the event.
Fair manager Kelli Fennessey and rodeo concessionaire Philip Wilson were at odds over a couple of dates for next summer’s rodeo. Fennessey wanted to bring in a big roping even and Wilson was reluctant to surrender a lucrative Saturday night.
“That Saturday [June 28] happens to bring us $32,000,” Wilson said. Combined with another Friday night the fair board was looking to snag, Wilson said that would amount to six percent of what the rodeo brings in all year. Wilson added that he, like every other business in town, needed to make hay while the sun shined – particularly the three-month peak of June through August. The World Series Roping event could take place anytime, Wilson said.
Bob Lenz finally brought the hammer down when he said, “We gave Phil the greatest gift he could get,” referring to last year’s addition of several rodeo Saturdays. “And any of these Saturdays are way better than this Friday.”
The council voted something that seemed to make Wilson and Fennessey happy enough to leave the room together and go home.
In other business
Brian Schilling asked the council to sign off on another Bikes Belong pathway grant. Pathways missed out on fed money last year when Austin, Chicago, Memphis, Portland, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. were selected for inclusion in the Green Lane Project.
“The Town of Jackson missed out on the first round,” Schilling told the council. “It generally goes to bigger cities. But I think we have a good argument to make even though we probably aren’t the exact model they are looking for.”
The council pledged their support.