Shorewood Considering Grant Program to Offset $10,000 Liquor Licenses
With Shorewood out of regular Class B liquor licenses and forced to charge $10,000 for reserve permits, village officials seek to avoid discouraging prospective Shorewood business owners with excessive fees.
Believeing that a $10,000 reserve liquor license hinders the growth of Shorewood’s business community, village officials are considering an economic development grant program to help offset the cost.
When Salvatore’s Pizza opened May 17, it was issued Shorewood’s 14th and last $600 Class B license. State law allots municipalities a set number of Class B licenses and some reserve Class B liquor licenses based on its population, which are required to be sold for no less than $10,000. Class B licenses allow establishments to serve hard liquor, beer and wine.
This week, new Shorewood Asian restaurant and sushi bar NaNa Asian Fusion was the first establishment in Shorewood to fork over $10,000 for a reserve liquor license, so they could open with a full liquor bar.
In light of this issue, Community Development Authority member Mike Paulson presented a draft village ordinance Friday, outlining a grant program.
“It doesn’t make any sense in Shorewood if we are trying to bring in new business,” Paulson added.
Under the proposal, a business seeking a reserve liquor license would pay the $10,000 up front, then apply for the grant. If approved, Shorewood give the licensee back $9,400, with the village retaining the $600 as the standard license fee.
Paulson said he mimicked other municipalities' ordnances as to avoid any conflicts with state law. Officals say more than a dozen communities statewide are facing similar shortages of Class B licenses.
"Anyone coming into the village should pay the same amount to operate," Paulson said. “I don’t care who it is, Applebee's or NaNa, they shouldn’t have to pay more than $600. It is an accident of the calendar, and who happened to show up first.”
Shorewood's attorney and other staff will review the ordinance before its considered by the Village Board.