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Business owners seek solutions to state's upcoming smoking ban

Jim Bolin doesn't smoke. However, many of his customers at President's do so Bolin was among the first liquor-serving establishments to take advantage of new city ordinances that allows bar owners and restaurants to expand their premises outdoors...

President's
A statewide smoking ban goes into effect July 5th, however President's was among the first liquor-serving establishments to take advantage of new city ordinances that allows bar owners and restaurants to expand their premises outdoors. (Jed Carlson/jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

Jim Bolin doesn't smoke.

However, many of his customers at President's do so Bolin was among the first liquor-serving establishments to take advantage of new city ordinances that allows bar owners and restaurants to expand their premises outdoors.

The ordinance was adopted last year in response to a statewide smoking ban that goes into effect July 5.

The new local law allows business owners to extend their defined premises to outdoor spaces so customers who smoke can continue to do so without violating the law when Wisconsin's smoking ban goes into effect July 5.

Monday, the city's License and Fees Committee approved expanded premises for President's, 3824 E. Second St., O'Neill's Pub & Liquor, 3333 Tower Ave., Dodgies East End Tavern, 2114 E. Fourth St., and Moose Lodge No. 606, 66 E. Fifth St.

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Each of the establishments submitted plans for exterior spaces where smokers could take their drinks without violating the city's public consumption laws.

About 13 establishments had such outdoor accommodations for their customers included in their premises before the new ordinance took affect. While those who previously included outdoor spaces in their defined premise will avoid the one-time $100 license fee, they will be obligated to meet other requirements of the law, which include monitoring the exterior space either visually or by use of security cameras.

Nancy O'Neill, owner of O'Neill's Pub, asked how the law would apply to those businesses that were grandfathered in under the new law on behalf of the Tavern League of Douglas County.

"What the Tavern League is looking for is consistency," O'Neill said. She said some of the establishments grandfathered in under the new law have neither line-of-sight to the outdoor patio areas or security cameras to assure control over the area.

O'Neill said the question prompted a lot of discussion at the last Tavern League meeting with owners of pre-existing outdoor premises believing they would be exempt from the requirement.

The controls were put in place to prevent underage drinking.

Superior Police Capt. Matt Markon said the ordinance would apply equally regardless if owners are required to pay the license fee.

The city plans to notify owners of the 13 establishments about the requirements, said City Clerk Terri Kalan.

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