Will Both New Bars Receive Class Z Licenses?

Fargo City Commissioners were supposed to pick out of a hat but before that could happen, conversation sparked

FARGO, ND — The city of Fargo has an ordinance that says if there are more applicants than licenses available, they must have a drawing.

Two businesses were in the running for a Class Z liquor license but both new bars may have a successful future.

Which new bar will receive the one Class Z license available?

“We’ve got two people that want to come downtown and start their business down here,” said Steve Sprague, the Fargo City Auditor.

The city commissioners were supposed to pick out of a hat but before that could happen, conversation sparked.

“I don’t think it’s good policy to decide what bar owner should get possibly a multi-million dollar business based on a coin flip or a drawing out of a hat,” said Tony Gehrig, a Fargo City Commissioner.

So Gehrig tried to change the outcome.

“My motion will be to add two more Class Z licenses,” Gehrig said.

But he soon found out that attempt isn’t legal.

“You’re not authorized to approve two licenses tonight you only have authority under our ordinances to approve one,” said Erik Johnson, Fargo City Attorney.

And some of the other commissioners felt other steps should be taken, before making that decision.

“We have to follow the policy too, that’s the priority. If you want to change this then we can address this at the liquor control,” said Dave Piepkorn, one of the Fargo City Commissioners.

The commissioners explained the reason there was a cap on the amount of licenses in the past was because they didn’t want Fargo to become a town all about the bars but Tony Gehrig says that’s not what this town has become and that shouldn’t stop businesses from thriving and surviving in the community.

So the commission decided to pull a name out of a hat.

“The winner is District 64, congratulations!” Piepkorn announced.

But they agreed on still giving the other bar a chance to also receive the license.

“You’ll still have an opportunity now, you’ll go back to the liquor control and then we’ll discuss adding an additional potential license,” Piepkorn said.

In 2013, there was also a Class Z license available but they didn’t publicize it in the paper and in other outlets like they did this time.

“We started issuing it to the first person that applied and then some other people said well hold on I didn’t even get a chance, how did I know that there was even a license available,” Sprague said.

And on a technicality all three businesses were granted the license.

The process will take at least six weeks but if the ordinance is changed, both businesses will be receiving what they hoped for.

District 64 will be located at 64 Broadway North and Cowboy Jack’s at 64 4th Street North.

Categories: Business, Community, Local News, North Dakota News