Let’s be fair

Let's be fair
Here we go again.

Our topic is the Vermillion City Council's handling of the on-off sale beverage application of Benjamin Parsons and Cory Beach, partners who recently opened Munchies, a restaurant in downtown Vermillion.

On July 3, the two young men's plans ran into a roadblock when the council, without going into great detail, decided against granting the license.

At a July 12 special meeting, three aldermen had a change of heart and requested a special meeting in an attempt to rescind the July 3 decision. Aldermen Roger Jeck, however, was absent, meaning the council couldn't act on the measure until its next meeting.

Here's where things stand today. The council decided to rescind its July 3 decision at its July 17 meeting. This will allow Munchies to sell on-off sale malt beverages under their existing license until a public hearing is held, likely sometime in August after it is advertised by the city.

We've already encouraged the city council to eventually grant Munchies its license.

At the same time, however, we hope it will trust that Parsons and Beach will be responsible businessmen.

The two men have likely made a few mistakes. That's bound to happen to anyone who ventures into the uncharted territory of the retail restaurant business.

We can't help but wonder if Parsons and Beach may therefore have been compelled to accept this agreement from the city in exchange for having the July 3 decision rescinded:

The two men have consented to:

? Hire a licensed garbage hauler.

? Have a specific plan to control noise with no live music during finals week.

? Have specific hours of operation.

? Commit to cleaning the sidewalk and surrounding frontage of the establishment on a daily basis to keep the area clean of debris, bottles, cigarette butts and other waste material.

? Commit to making sure that the area behind Munchies is cleaned up.

? Be considerate tenants and work with their landlord to make sure the property is orderly.

Alderman Mary Edelen, who had the common sense to research this issue after initially voting against the license renewal July 3, said at the July 12 special meeting that the above conditions place Beach and Parsons at a higher standard than other malt beverage license holders in Vermillion but shows a commitment that they want to operate.

We think the two men have already demonstrated a great deal of commitment while launching their new business and while dealing with one man-made setback after the other.

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 found themselves before the council July 3, July 12 and July 17, hoping the city leaders would eventually grant a renewal of their malt beverage license.

That issue likely won't be addressed until next month. When it is, we ask aldermen to do one simple thing.

Be fair.

Don't blow smoke about Munchies being in an unsuitable location, right after Chae's, its next door neighbor, easily had its malt beverage license renewed moments after the Munchies proprietors walked away empty-handed.

If aldermen believe Beach and Parsons must undergo a high level of scrutiny before granting them a malt beverage license, so be it.

But does that now mean that citizens of Vermillion should expect our municipal leaders to automatically tack on a long laundry list of conditions on each malt beverage, wine and liquor license it approves?

We should. To be fair.

The Vermillion Plain Talk editorials reflect the opinion of Plain Talk editor David Lias. You may contact him at david.lias@plaintalk.net

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