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Sinking the Pier

Why is “The Pier,” the bar that is now opened on Linn Road, on the way down to one of Geneva Lake’s only available boat launching piers, so attacked by local residents who live in the area?  The residents showed up in force on Monday night when the Town of Linn board meeting was held.  Fifty to sixty residents (part-time and full-time) were present, and they had at it when the microphone was opened up.  One small group of women demanded the attention of the media to announce that they were all under age fifty (a back-handed comment about a GSR article last week that made it sound like all the residents of that local area were old).  A voice from the back was heard to say; “that’s not readily apparent.”  That comment was not made by a GSR reporter or the cameraman, incidentally.

Pat Hogan, the owner of the business known as The Pier was there, attending the meeting, but he did not speak. He was waiting to see what the board was going to decide with respect to renewing his liquor license (all liquor licenses in the township renew once a year on July 1st).  The board considered after all the negative commentary ended.  The wise city attorney present indicated, before a vote was taken, that the owner/operator of the business and the liquor license that had previously been approved had to be given due process in a preceding that might cause him to lose the liquor license.  Three prongs of that ‘due process’ had to be met before the July 1 deadline; a pre-announced meeting had to be set up wherein the owner/operator had to be given the right to formal accusations against him and/or his business.  He had to be given the opportunity to call witnesses both for and against him in receiving the renewal.  Finally, he had been allowed judicial review of the decision that might be handed down.

Board member Lee made a motion to call the hearing to be set for June 22. That motion was seconded and then unanimously approved.  The matter was then tabled until after the hearing. The advice of the attorney was spot on because, if the will of the speaking and complaining residents was to be followed then the owner/operator of the establishment would have been denied renewal on the spot.  That denial would have had to be predicated upon an initial mistake the board made (technically by the city clerk) allowing the original approval in the first place.  That denial would have caused a multi-million-dollar lawsuit to be initiated that the Town of Linn could not have won.

The attorney was right.  Now, it must be determined if the Town can act fast enough to prevent automatic renewal of the license on July 1st.  The residents don’t want the supposed increase in vehicle traffic, to and from, on Town of Linn Road.  They don’t want outdoor, or even indoor music to be played. They don’t want drinking inside or outside the establishment.  All they left out of their complaints was a denial of dancing.  The script of the movie Footloose was written around similar complaints, albeit fictional, as opposed to the reality being witnessed in the south of Walworth County, Wisconsin.


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