The special meeting was called to hopefully reconsider action that the city council took at its July 3 meeting, denying Benjamin Parsons and Cory Beach an on-off sale malt beverage license for their new restaurant, Munchies.
Parsons and Beach, new to being proprietors of such a business, have already faced their fair share of bumps in the road.
In early June, there were questions on whether their lease was valid. They eventually had to go to court to settle that issue with their landlord, and the court agreed that their lease is valid until the end of March of next year.
When the lease was found to be valid, they then approached the Vermillion City Council on July 3, hoping the city leaders would grant a renewal of their malt beverage license.
It took the city council two tries to fail to grant that license. They were successful at failing at each try, first with a 4-4-1 tie vote, and later with a 4-5 vote when Kent Osborne, who originally voted for the renewal, changed his mind and voted against it.
It became obvious Wednesday that the mayor, whose theme during his tenure has been to listen to all sides and seek public input, perhaps chooses to listen to only a select few.
"I would like to encourage the tenant and the landlord to get together this afternoon," he said at the end of the first special meeting Wednesday, "because if you come back to me with no amiable agreement between the tenant and the landlord, it's still in my mind an unsuitable location."
According to the South Dakota Department of Revenue, municipal governments have two and only two, criteria they may use to determine if an establishment may be issued a malt beverage license.
Those criteria are: the moral character of the applicant(s), and the location of the establishment.
Munchies is located at 6 West Main Street. Its next door neighbor? Chae's, at 8 West Main Street, which has been annually granted a license by the city to serve malt beverages. Across the street, at 9 West Main Street, is Chalky's, a bar. Also across the street is the Main Street Pub and Open Mike's. They each serve food and beer, along with several other establishments in downtown Vermillion.
Just how well the proprietors get along with their landlord is, frankly, none of the city's business. It's a personal issue between Parsons, Beach, and Karen Muenster, owner of the building who agreed to lease the space to the two young men.
We encourage the remainder of the city council to show the kind of leadership demonstrated by Mary Edelen at the city council's special meeting Wednesday. She admitted that she had a gut feeling that she made a mistake shortly after voting July 3 to deny the renewal of Munchies malt beverage license.
She'd like to see this problem corrected. She'd like to give the two young men a chance.
We'd like to see that, too.
That means the mayor's lead can't be followed in this instance. We find ourselves exaggerating when we state that his reasoning on the location of Munchies is flimsy, at best.
The Vermillion Plain Talk editorials reflect the opinion of Plain Talk editor David Lias. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org