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Germantown officials consider alcohol sales at gas stations

June 5, 2012

Germantown - The discussion on Monday night was not whether alcohol should be allowed in gas stations, the question was what kind should be allowed.

The Germantown Village Board directed legal counsel and staff to research the current liquor license ordinances, as well as put together a draft ordinance that would allow fermented alcoholic beverages to be sold in gas stations. Trustees did not see an issue, nor did Police Chief Peter Hoell in allowing the sale of beer or wine in service stations. The ordinance will be discussed further at the June 18 meeting.

Though the board supported beer and wine, some were unsure if liquor should be allowed. The Class A and Class B licenses provided by the village dictate which type of liquor is allowed and have different stipulations and fees.

Hoell said he did not have an issue with allowing alcohol at gas stations. He said the police department has a slew of checks and balances in place to oversee the sale of alcohol and work to ensure it is done legally, from citing owners and employees to revoking licenses if they see fit.

The discussion started after Asif Vadsaria, the owner of a gas station near Holy Hill Road and Highway 41, asked the village's Safety Committee if they could sell alcohol.

Trustee Daniel Wing said there is not a liquor store in that part of Germantown and on numerous occasions patrons take their business to Richfield instead, where the nearest liquor store is located.

"I think they should be able to sell liquor, beer, whiskey. I think they should sell what they want to," he said. "This is a way to increase sales in Germantown, the tax base in Germantown and I would be in favor of liquor licenses for all gas stations."

The sale of alcohol would also be regulated by state statutes, including the age of workers selling the beverages.

The current ordinance states if a business sells gas, it cannot sell alcohol. Some gas stations in Germantown currently allow liquor to be sold; however, those businesses were grandfathered more than two decades ago when an ordinance banning alcohol sales went into effect.

Vadsaria said from a business standpoint, the more of an array of liquor he can sell the better; however, simply beer and wine sales would "be a good start."

"Even if the board would consider selling beer and wine that would be fantastic," he said.

Trustee Jeff Werdeman, who is also on the safety committee, said he is leaning more toward only allowing malted beverages and beer.

The next Village Board meeting is slated for 7 p.m. June 18 at Village Hall, N112 W17001 Mequon Road.

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