City of Pewaukee might permit beer, wine sales at gas stations
Kwik Trip interested in expanding product line

By Dave Fidlin - Special to The Freeman

July 21, 2017

CITY OF PEWAUKEE — A 35-year-old ordinance prohibiting gas stations from selling beer and wine could soon come to an end in the city limits.

The Plan Commission on Thursday reviewed proposed amendments linked to three of the city’s business zoning districts. The simple wordsmithing, as proposed, calls on removing the phrase “not allowed” from passages pertaining to wine and beer sales at gas stations.

As proposed, the ordinance change would not address liquor sales, which would still be prohibited.

The city currently hosts three gas stations in its municipal limits.

“Obviously, they would have to get a license to (sell beer and wine),” City Planner Harlan Clinkenbeard said.

One of those three gas stations — Kwik Trip — has already hinted it is interested in selling the alcoholic beverages at its store at W229-N2086 Redford Blvd.

Representatives with the growing La Crosse-based convenience store chain came before commissioners for a separate agenda item. The company has announced plans for expanding its physical store footprint.

According to the company, the added building space would accommodate an expanded grocery section and a dedicated area for beer and wine sales — assuming the prohibition is lifted, as proposed, and the company obtains a license.

Mayor Steve Bierce, who chairs the commission, inquired if the city was an anomaly in prohibiting alcohol sales at gas stations. Clinkenbeard said most of the city’s municipal neighbors do already allow such sales to establishments with licenses.

“I don’t want to be an island,” Bierce said, in response.

The ordinance change and Kwik Trip’s building expansion are moving forward to the Common Council next month for further deliberation and possible action.

For his part, Clinkenbeard said he was against the idea of letting gas stations sell beer and wine.

“It just sends a bad message,” Clinkenbeard said. He said he feared motorists would be tempted to drink behind the wheel after making their purchases.

In other business Thursday, the commission:

Gave conceptual approval to applicant Jamie LeFever, who has proposed relocating her existing hair salon to a former restaurant building at W279-N2221 Prospect Ave.

LeFever’s business plan for the expanded business — described in application materials as a “high-end spa” — includes serving alcohol to customers purchasing a package deal.

Commissioners initially expressed concerns with alcohol being served on the salon’s premises, but representatives of LeFever’s salon said the beverages would commonly be served during group events, such as bridal parties.

Thursday’s discussion did not include a possible alcohol license, which would have to be granted for it to be served.

Denied developer Neumann Company’s proposal for a subdivision on undeveloped property at Golf and Meadowbrook roads.

Matt Neumann, co-owner of the company, pitched a plan for 25 residential duplexes on the land, comprising a total of 50 units. Commissioners, however, balked at the plans, expressing concerns with traffic and density.

Neumann Company will continue to refine proposals for the land, but Neumann implored commissioners to think outside the box for the property.