Stillwater Alcohol Amendment Passes, Penalty Will Be 'Pretty Draconian,' Police Chief Says

The Stillwater City Council on Tuesday night unanimously approved an amendment to the city's liquor ordinance.

The Stillwater City Council on Tuesday night unanimously approved an amendment to the city's liquor ordinance.

The amendment is aimed at “improving conduct” at some drinking establishments in downtown Stillwater.

From now until the end of the year, city staff will work out the details of how conduct-related incidents and violations will impact the establishment's liquor license, Stillwater City Attorney Dave Magnuson said.

The amendment reads that an establishment may be cited after any combination of 10 conduct-related violations—within a one-year period—within a drinking establishment and on the licensed premises.

If five citations for unlawful conduct are issued within a calendar year, a designated member of the Stillwater Police Department must meet and confer with the liquor license holder; and a copy of any citation must be sent in the mail to the liquor license holder.

Looking back, Stillwater Mayor Ken Harycki asked, would any bar or restaurant bump up against 10 conduct-related violations in one year?

"Oh yes," Stillwater Police Chief John Gannaway said. "It's usually one every so often that this ordinance will be designed to handle."

The response to habitual offenders of the liquor ordinance "will be pretty draconian," Gannaway said. "This is an establishment we are having major issues with and they are not receptive to us working with them." 


The Stillwater City Council on Tuesday will take up the second reading of a proposed amendment aimed at giving the city’s liquor ordinance “more teeth.”

In October, the Stillwater City Council unanimously approved the first reading of an amendment aimed at “improving conduct” at some drinking establishments.

Currently, the city’s ordinance covers a variety of issues ranging from selling alcohol after hours and serving minors to tax evasion, but nothing that holds liquor license holders accountable for the conduct in and around their establishment, City Attorney David Magnuson has said.

The new amendment to the city ordinance includes several provisions that define “habitual violators” and would allow the city to issue citations for violations that are found by the city to be unacceptable.

If the amendment passes, the city's liquor code would include disorderly conduct, assault, unlawful assembly, noise violations and trespassing.

But after hearing concerns from a group of Stillwater restaurant owners—about the ambiguity of the language in the amendment, a lack of discourse between city officials and liquor-license holders and the uncertainty of the financial consequences of the amendment—the council tabled the proposal to engage in more discussion.

The bar owner’s group and the police chief have met to discuss the proposed amendment, and Stillwater Mayor Ken Harycki said it’s his understanding that the new language was mutually agreed upon.

The first reading of the proposed amendment read that any combination of six conduct-related incidents reported at a drinking establishment—as well as on the streets and sidewalks adjacent to the bar—could mean a violation and citation.  

The revised proposal reads that an establishment may be cited after any combination of 10 conduct-related incidents reported—within a one-year period—within a drinking establishment and on the licensed premises.

If five citations for unlawful conduct are issued within a calendar year, a designated member of the Stillwater Police Department must meet and confer with the liquor license holder; and a copy of any citation must be sent in the mail to the liquor license holder.

The Council will vote on the second reading of the proposed amendment to “Stillwater Liquor Code Chapter 43” at 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

Susan December 07, 2012 at 01:19 AM
This is good information for the public to know Shawn, thanks. I wish that the meeting between the police chief and bar owners would have been public so we could have heard both sides. Have you considered writing a blog post about all this, Shawn?
Randy Marsh December 07, 2012 at 01:30 AM
Susan, I'm not trying to pile on, but I know you generally support this ordinance but I (perhaps incorrectly) assume that this is because of your disgust with the city's handling or non-enforcement of the noise ordinance. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you also admitted you did not have any information about which establishments are drawing the most calls or exactly how many calls there were in the first place and yet you apparently support this ordinance for some reason. I'm just trying to understand your position a little better because it seems out of character to allow emotion to override common sense.
Shawn Smalley December 07, 2012 at 01:43 AM
I don't really like extra attention. I was kind of hoping that someone else would jump on it. I want to work with the police to work on things. I don't want them thinking that I'm trying to undermine them with the public. By the way, never trust anything you see one news ever again. It's just full of half truths, they don't care who gets crushed in the process. Last time they even set up a bunch of props to make us look bad. I trust the Patch and the Gazette also told the truth without mixing our words and editing some out to make us look bad. Others did this to us. Makes it hard not to hate, let alone trust anyone. I lost a friend and some tried to make it look like that's what we set out to do! Sorry for the rant, but I'm just really unset about everything still.
Susan December 07, 2012 at 01:50 AM
Randy, I DO NOT SUPPORT THE AMENDMENT AS WRITTEN. Sorry to shout (with caps) but I have told you in the recent past that some of the comments have actually made me reconsider my position on this amendment...especially as written. My only point here was that (from what I have read - no, I don't have access to police reports) it seems that some bars have more problems than others. The only reasonable answer to this (IMO) is what David wrote above. Would I like to see these "problems" reduced? Yes. Do I think this amendment is the answer? No. And I have written this before, and did not imply otherwise here. The only connection I have made with this ordinance/amendment and the noise ordinance was to laugh at the fact that the city does not currently enforce the noise ordinance so why should we believe that they would enforce that part of the first proposed amendment. Randy, I use common sense AND I think about what others have written, which is why I did change my opinion on this. Did you read my comments to Adam's uncle? I was telling him why the amendment was wrong...I was not supporting his position.
Susan December 07, 2012 at 01:58 AM
Shawn, I don't blame you for being upset, you are in an awful position, and it must be very difficult. For the record, if these comments about channel 5 (from some people above) are directed at me, I didn't even see the story. As I said, the information I have is what I have "read"...and no, not on 5's website. Shawn, I don't know if anyone else would be able to give your unique perspective on the subject. I realize that you have to be careful about commenting on that night, but it may be helpful to your cause if more people knew your story as a bar and restaurant owner. Your example above is an excellent point to make regarding the amendment and how it can actually be very unfair to the establishment.
Chris Barnes December 07, 2012 at 02:10 AM
Not a shot at you...forever now! I've just seen the garbage
Randy Marsh December 07, 2012 at 02:13 AM
I apologize for misstating your stance on this ordinance, Susan.
Randy Marsh December 07, 2012 at 02:17 AM
Shawn Hogendorf, any chance you can do some digging on how many calls Stillwater bars and restaurants produced in the past year and whether this truly is much ado about nothing? I have a hard time believing the statistics aren't readily available, although perhaps I am far too trusting as to assume some of these council members actually did some research before bending over for Adam's uncle and his well meaning but misguided supporters.
Shawn Smalley December 07, 2012 at 02:19 AM
Their website wasn't bad at all, even though it didn't tell the whole story. Their show that night slaughtered us and so did the pioneer press. They made it more about us and didn't really even seem to care about Adam and that made me sick. They all made a HUGE deal about 40 calls when it wa really more like 4 or 5. This is the same for everyone in town. Sad really, even more sad that they didn't really even care about the tragedy just more about dragging us through the mud. Now everyone pays the price. Hopefully everything will work out for the best.
Susan December 07, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Shawn H., I would really be interested in this as well. And/or does anyone else know how the public can view police records/call logs, etc?
Chris Barnes December 07, 2012 at 02:37 AM
Go to City Hall and request them. It's public record, they should just make you copies. Be sure to notice all the relay calls. You'll see how they were used the misconstrue the truth and made to look like Stillwater is a war zone!
Susan December 07, 2012 at 03:10 AM
Thank you.
Scott in Wisconsin December 07, 2012 at 03:23 AM
Personally I can't go into Acapulco without thinking about Adam's laugh and seeing him smile hopefully his family will get the satisfaction they need through the courts. What remains to be seen on this issue is if the number 10 is a concrete number that will be uniformily enforced or if it is simply a number that will give the PD the rule of law that allows them some level of control when faced with a bar owner that does'nt seem to care about overserving and seems to spend too much time on the same side of the bar as their customers (not singling anyone out, but it has happened). If it is enforced, and becomes the unattainable draconian goal I fear, it will probably be the end of at least 4 or 5 bars in town and in the end will the goal have been worth the cost. What will fill the void left by those bars? Certainly not other bars. And what of the future of the Maple Island property?
Shawn Hogendorf December 07, 2012 at 03:46 AM
When this ordinance was first introduced, I asked the police chief for copies of the police calls to downtown bars. Because the request was in regard to the amendment, and most police calls are generated during the summer months, I asked for the reports of the places police respond to the most from May through September. I received the police calls for Smalley's, the Freight House, Whitey's, The Water Street Inn, Brine's, Rafters and P.D. Pappy's. (Monique's was already closed.) I have attached all of them as PDFs to this article. As Smalley mentions above, when looking at these reports, one call may generate the response of several departments, all of which are included in the report. The best way to sort through that is looking at the ICR (incident) number on the left side of the page. I think it is important to note that the amendment changed from 6 calls to 10 violations. I think that is going to be a pretty significant change. I did leave a message for the city attorney today asking for the number of violations his office has generated from downtown bars. I haven't heard back yet. I'm in the process of uploading them now, unfortunately the uploads are taking a while...
Susan December 07, 2012 at 04:03 AM
Thanks Shawn. I can't access them from the iPad, but look forward to reviewing them when I get back to my desk.
Chris Barnes December 07, 2012 at 04:10 AM
I'd like to know who deems what counts as a violation and will it be the same for everyone. If its just one person such a the chief then it's a total joke! I've got someone on the inside who says that some bars will be able to slide without a problem while others will be getting drilled with every little thing that happen(like the loose cat). It only goes to show how justice isn't being done and if you just "slob a little knob" your indiscressions will be over looked. Terrible
Randy Marsh December 07, 2012 at 04:18 AM
Anyone want to bet that Dickie Anderson won't have to worry about this ordinance?
Randy Marsh December 07, 2012 at 04:26 AM
So which is the one bar in particular that Barney Fife (Gannaway) is so gung-ho to shut down? Also, will this ordinance allow the city to shut down bike racks and water towers as necessary. I think we all know that's where most of the fights occur.
Chris Barnes December 07, 2012 at 07:13 AM
First off I think its very disrespectful calling this dude Barney Five. Barney actually cared about the people and his community. You ever met this guy? I've never met someone so arrogant and full of themselves. He doesn't care about Stillwater, the worse we do the better his own town does. The word on the street is that even the police don't like or respect him, all due to his attitude with the common man(not Dan Cole). It'd be nice I'd our new council would pressure him to adjust his attitude toward the public or even consider replacing him. I've never heard of one person that supports his attitude in this town. Even ex mayors and ex chiefs are starting to emerge in discussest.
Shawn Hogendorf December 07, 2012 at 07:21 AM
I just want to say I truly enjoy your establishment, Smalley. I was married in Jamaica (and have travelled there several times) and your take on Caribbean BBQ is truly impressive. I bring my young kids to your restaurant to eat dinner; and have always felt safe (and cleaned up our mess). When my family comes in from the East Coast, they can't wait to head downtown for ribs and mac 'n' cheese. I also want to say I appreciate your comments. Thank you. And finally, I hope this amendment doesn't come into play for Smalley's or any other establishment in Stillwater--and I know I'm not alone in saying that.
Pete December 07, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Klown Komment. If you own a non drinking business downtown, you might have a different opinion. If you live downtown and experience all of the "stuff", you might have a different opinion. Bring it on-bring the draconian rules in and give those business owners some relief (from cleaning up puke, feces, cigs, rubbers, underwear, broken bottles).
Randy Marsh December 07, 2012 at 03:32 PM
First of all, I have a hard time believing the former mayor would frequent a bar or drinking establishment downtown. Blasphemy! Second, I don't have as big a problem with Gannaway's attitude as I do with the fact that he is simply in way too far over his head. Bayport is probably a better fit for someone with his intellectual capacities.
Susan December 07, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Randy wrote: "First of all, I have a hard time believing the former mayor would frequent a bar or drinking establishment downtown." HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Chris Barnes December 07, 2012 at 05:37 PM
I miss the old bar hopping, Harley riding, gun shooting mayor that we use to have! He actually did care about everyone and the entire town!
Chris Barnes December 07, 2012 at 05:43 PM
I'm sure that you could find the new mayor up at Applebee's, busy "eatin good in the neighborhood"!
Susan December 07, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Haha, I've seen him there with the whole family. I hope he frequents the establishments in his own city, supporting those businesses, as well.
Shawn Smalley December 08, 2012 at 09:35 AM
I wish that he'd come and see me. Maybe his family's been in, I don't know. I do wish that that he's come and talk to me about everything that's been going on in town. I know that he's busy, i get it. But this has been HUGE lately and not so much as a "how's it going". Maybe I should reach out? But you know what? I do a ton of reaching out all over the community and give all over, maybe I want someone to care about me for a change(btw thanks to everyone who has) It'd be nice to know that that the most powerful man in town cares about the biggest issue we've had in a while. I want a safe town(it is) and I just want things to continue to get better. But I think that individually talking with STIlLWATER restaurant owners would be a great place to start. Hell he's even welcome to my house for dinner to talk about things! Anyone else want to come over for dinner??
Shawn Smalley December 08, 2012 at 09:42 AM
Sorry for writing in code. It's been a very long day and pirates are notorious for poor grammar, reading, spelling and foul language(but I think I kept that one in check)
Scott in Wisconsin December 08, 2012 at 10:49 PM
"Damn ye altogether: damn them for a pack of crafty rascals, and you, who serve them, for a parcel of hen-hearted numbskulls. They vilify us, the scoundrels do, when there is only this difference, they rob the poor under the cover of law, forsooth, and we plunder the rich under protection of our own courage; had you not better make one of us, than sneak after the asses of those villains" The pirate Black Sam Bellemy on his view of politicians
Shawn Smalley December 10, 2012 at 07:58 AM
Ha! I bet said that just before he got the noose! Odd how that almost exactly translates to this, but if you want to give me the noose you'll be talking to the business end of my cutlass first!


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something