Council calm; tempers flare

Council calm; tempers flare
The Vermillion City Council granted a retail on-off sale malt beverage license at its Monday meeting to Benjamin Parsons and Cory Beach, operators of Munchies at 6 West Main Street.

The action seemingly marked the final chapter in a drama that's been played out all summer.

City council members learned that not all of the theatrics were over. After approving the license, Karen Muenster, owner of the building that houses Munchies in downtown Vermillion, followed Parsons out of the meeting room and began a sharp verbal exchange that lasted several minutes.

In June, Parsons and Beach completed the proper paperwork to apply for an on-off sale malt beverage license up for renewal.

At the July 3 city council meeting, aldermen did not renew the license, citing location as the reason.

On July 19, the city council rescinded that action, and set the evening of Aug. 21 as a time to re-hear the license application issue.

According to state law, municipalities can take only two items into consideration in respect to the renewal of a malt beverage license: the moral character of the applicant, and the location of the establishment seeking the license.

"I do not believe that the moral character of the applicants has been questioned or raised as the issue for denial back at July 3," City Manager John Prescott said.

The business operators had received complaints about garbage collection and store-front cleanliness.

"From my understanding,they have made good progress in terms of addressing those," Prescott said.

Parsons told the council that his business has hired a garbage contractor. He collects the trash from a large dumpster behind the business once a week.

Alderman Mary Edelen said she had heard that garbage collection again may have been a recent issue. She asked Parsons if he's received any feedback from his landlord about this.

Parsons and Beach spent time earlier this month in Sturgis.

"I've been back a solid week now, but I haven't had any issues or heard of any," he said.

Alderman Kent Osborne asked Parsons if there has been an attempt by the he and Beach and their landlord to work out issues that were proving to be divisive earlier this summer.

Parsons said they definitely have a lease, thanks to a court decision earlier this year.

"As far as things between the landlord and I, I thought they were fine, but evidently was a garbage issue," he said. "I was gone for a week, so I don't see how there could be any garbage."

Mayor Dan Christopherson asked Parsons if he had worked something out with his landlord. At the conclusion of a July 12 meeting about the license renewal, Christopherson had stated that without improved relations between tenant and landlord, he believed Munchies location was inappropriate.

"I've made calls (to Karen Muenster), but I've got to get calls back in order to have an open dialogue," Parsons said.

The council voted 7-2 to approve the license renewal. Christopherson and Alderman Nathan Adams voted against the renewal.

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