The most recent liquor license denial.
In a recent Lake Geneva Plan Commission vote, the request for a class ‘B’ liquor license was denied to a downtown business owner (the owner of Barrique, a small restaurant located on Wrigley in downtown Lake Geneva). The possible reason for the denial may be more disturbing than the denial itself. It was stated, by those supporting the local business’s liquor license request, that the Lake Geneva Plan Commission members wanted to save the liquor license for a chain restaurant. A municipality may refuse to issue liquor licenses as long as it uses good judgment and doesn’t discriminate. The city has set up an ordinance that specifies liquor license requirements that include; size, number of seats, location, etc. That ordinance cannot and does not discriminate.
However, denying a liquor license to a current locally owned business so that it can be saved for a franchised business that does not yet exist within the city, seems to be a discriminatory act against a current local downtown business in favor of bribing a new, yet to be specified business (name withheld) not yet in the city. In addition, the denial also shows a lack of good judgment, in that the denial went against all of the residents who spoke on the issue. Besides, when the city’s population increases by another 500 residents, an additional license will become available. So, what should have happened is that the license should have been allowed, and the franchised business could have been built and then waited for the next liquor license to become available, like all the other local businesses have had to do.
Aside from city and county ordinances, and even state law, there is the U.S. Constitution to consider in this completely unfair decision made by the members of the Lake Geneva Plan Commission. The U.S. Constitution; the Fourteenth Amendment: “no state shall make or enforce any law that will deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law.” This provision requires the government to treat persons equally and impartially, no matter how Dan Draper, the Slow Poke Rodriguez of a Lake Geneva city attorney, chooses to interpret it.