arette and tobacco products retail ….

Posted 9/22/21

arette and tobacco products retail license. However, an incorrect address listed on the license application prompted the board to table action on the request. Health, License & Welfare Committee …

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arette and tobacco products retail ….


arette and tobacco products retail license. However, an incorrect address listed on the license application prompted the board to table action on the request.

Health, License & Welfare Committee Chair Lance Austin said that while the committee voted 2-1 to recommend approval of the application contingent on the correct address being used, they did so reluctantly. He, in fact, voted no.

“The committee that day had many reservations about recommending approval for this license, but are bound by the law,” Austin said.

Village Attorney Bob Loberg said that Sec. 11.13 of the code is “quite straightforward;” the committee has no reason to deny the application. However, the application was missing the municipality, county and business telephone number and listed the business address as 121 W. Main St, which is an empty lot.

Trustee Dale Hines said convenience stores already sell tobacco and vaping products.

“We didn’t like this but we cannot tell them no,” Austin reiterated.

Trustee Scott Feuerhelm said the board can question all it wants when the store moved in, whether it has the proper building permits, or received signage approval from the state, but a business just moving into town without the village board knowing about it is wrong.

“There’s got to be something in the statutes about that … They can just move in without the village board knowing about it, they can just move and start business,” Feuerhelm said. “That just seems wrong.”

Village President Becky Beissel said she agreed, but that yes, a business can do that if it doesn’t require a license. However, this business requires one and the business applied for one.

Trustee Mike Steele said the state would have had to approve building plans before the remodel began. That side of the building was left unfinished, he said. Beissel said the permits are being looked into.

Trustees questioned whether something can be done to prevent this from happening again and expressed concern illegal products might be sold under the guise of legal goods.

The business representative piped up and said the owners chose this location because people drive 20-30 miles to get discounted tobacco products at other outlet stores, so they decided to come to them. He assured the board that all products are regulated by the Food & Drug Administration and no one under 21 is allowed to enter.

“We are all against smoking, but it’s still a business, like liquor,” he said.

As for CBD products, they will sell anything legally allowed because they’re trying to be a “complete store.” They also plan to sell incense and gift items.

The rep also said the building’s owner is responsible for the construction and their contractor had to wait for approval on each step, in order to move onto the next. The remodel is extensive and includes plumbing, heating, concrete, insulation and drywall, because it’s never been finished and has been vacant for a long time.

Feuerhelm still had reservations about the sign and building permit validity.

“Unless that documentation can be given to us, I’m not willing” to approve the application,” Feuerhelm said. “I’m hearing a lot of ‘sures,’ ‘I think’ and ‘I don’t knows.’” The rep offered to send the paperwork to the village as proof.

“I can assure you, there’s nothing done without a permit,” he said.

Planter project

Angie Whelan of YB Urban? And the Ellsworth E3 Community Development Corporation asked the board to approve Phase 2 of the Painted Planter Project. In May, volunteers put in 80-plus hours designing and painting six stone planters in the East End business district. The group would like to continue its efforts to the Midtown and West End business districts.

“We do find this particular style, kind of this geometric full graphic style, works well for the planters just from our experience from the ones that we did in the East End,” Whelan said.

The group would like to paint four stone planters in the Midtown area and has received donations stemming from the East End phase. The community has given tremendous, positive feedback, Whelan said.

Beissel said she agrees that artistic expression and artwork don’t necessarily need to be part of a brand, but is concerned the group will put in a lot of work on the planters that could be usurped if the community chooses to do something different with them as a result of the village’s 10-year comprehensive plan and upcoming survey.

“My point was that planters could be part of the Design Downtown guidelines and plans,” Beissel said. “And so with that coming forth and us getting community input on that and what we want our downtown to look like, I fell like we’re kind of getting out of order a little bit. Instead of taking the whole community, what do we want our downtown to look like, as in planters for example. You know what I mean? Now we’re just getting one group’s plan on that and that’s my only concern.”

In an effort to maintain transparency, Beissel said she doesn’t want the group potentially throwing away their money and hard work if the community decides to do something different in a year or two.

Whelan countered that it’s not a waste if it changes in two years. She called the planters “low-hanging fruit as far as community development goes.” They’re 30 years old, worn-out and tired. The group hadn’t planned to bring the project to Main Street, but community and financial support inspired it.

“I think public art is something people get excited about,” Whelan said. “And we can always auction them off down the road.”

The board ultimately approved Phase 2, which will be done during Ellsworth High School’s Service Learning Day.

Other business

•The board a resolution appointing Greg Engeset to the West Central Wisconsin Biosolids Facility.

•The board approved Ayres Associates’ proposal of work for a WEDC grant. The total project cost, which includes environment impact work at Ellsworth Public Library (if a fuel tank is found), is $31,600. The WEDC would reimburse the village 80 percent of that cost. If a fuel tank is located and needs removal, more grant funds are available to help defray the cost.

•The board approved an amendment to Ordinance No. 692, adding Dar, Susan and Beebe streets to the approved ATV route within in the village.

•The Planning Commission recommended approval of a Certified Survey Map for Brad and Robyn Fulstrom in the town of Ellsworth.

•The Salary & Labor Committee met at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 22 to conduct public works director interviews.

•The board approved the search for a new full-time police officer to begin. It also approved allowing the part-time village office assistant to participate in the state retirement plan.

•The board voted to direct Jon Strand of CBS Squared to work with WisDOT to bring a 10-inch water line into the new library at 388 W. Main St. from Main Street. When tests took place, the 4-inch lines leading to Kinne Street had low flow. Strand said he recommends the village looking at replacing all 4-inch water mains when it does street construction. The cost is unknown, until WisDOT provides an estimate from its contractor.

•The library will host an online auction through Hines Auction Service, for those interested in buying any items left behind in the former BMO Bank building. Items include cabinetry, left over furniture, kitchen appliances and more.

•The board approved a temporary “Class B” retailer’s license for Friends of the Ellsworth Public Library Inc. for the EPL Gala at 388 W. Main St. on Oct. 23; a special event dance license for the same event; and a “Class B” premise extension permit for Just Ka’s (325 W. Main St.) for the establishment’s 10th anniversary celebration 11 a.m. Oct. 15 through 5 p.m. Oct. 17.

•The board convened to closed session to discuss 245 S. Broadway St.