Cottage Grove lowers liquor license feeWith fewer bars within its borders and costs related to policing alcohol-related offenses decreasing, the Cottage Grove City Council on Wednesday voted earlier this month to slash the city’s fee for obtaining an annual on-sale liquor license.
With fewer bars within its borders and costs related to policing alcohol-related offenses decreasing, the Cottage Grove City Council on Wednesday voted earlier this month to slash the city’s fee for obtaining an annual on-sale liquor license.
The new cost of a liquor license for a bar or restaurant in Cottage Grove will be $6,000, a drop from the $9,500 fee the approved in 2004. The city’s Public Safety Department proposed the change following a review of liquor license fees across the metro area.
With fewer calls for police service related to activity at the city’s licensed drinking establishments, Public Safety Director Craig Woolery said a fee decrease made sense.
“You would see a lot more issues coming out of” the city’s bars in the past, Woolery said.
The city has seven licensed on-sale establishments and two other businesses — Boondocks Bar and Grill, a so-called 3.2 bar in rural Cottage Grove, and the VFW Red Barn, considered a club, not a bar — covered under different liquor licensing laws.
Over the past decade, City Administrator Ryan Schroeder said, the “character of liquor license establishments [in Cottage Grove] has changed.”
In the past, drinkers in Cottage Grove flocked to smoke-filled spots like DeMori’s and New Moon near the now-demolished Cottage Square Mall on Hadley Avenue, or Herman’s Hideaway, a bar that once stood where a vacant Home Depot now stands.
Woolery said the city’s most troublesome former nightspot, however, was The Rush, a West Point Douglas nightclub that, at various times, was known as The Goldrush and Rodeo, before it closed in 2008.
Now, the city’s spots for tipping back cold ones skews more toward chain bar and grills than townie bars or country-themed nightclubs.
“The businesses we have today in town, they’re different,” Woolery said.
The department’s review of other metro area liquor license fees also showed the $9,500 cost of an annual license in Cottage Grove to be the sixth-highest among 30 cities surveyed. Neighboring Woodbury’s fee is set at $10,000 per year. In Newport the cost is $2,500 and the St. Paul Park City Council recently voted to raise its liquor license fee from $2,500 to $4,000 between 2013 and 2015.
Woolery told council members Aug. 3 the new fee “better reflects” current public safety costs associated with the city’s on-sale licensed establishments.