The Minnesota Court of Appeals has affirmed the Newport City Council’s decision in June to deny a liquor store permit sought by Stephen Linn, president and CEO of the Linn Cos. of Woodbury.
Backing an earlier decision in Washington County District Court, the three-judge panel found that the City Council did not abuse its discretion in denying the permit for the store in a vacant commercial space that was next to Newport Liquor Store.
“The City Council made its decision out of concern for the welfare of the city,” the ruling says. “… Council members were troubled by the fact that Linn wished to open his liquor store next to an existing store. The two stores would be located along a highway [Hwy. 61] leading into the city, and council members were concerned about the image that adjacent liquor stores might create.”
Council members were open to having the store in another location but also questioned whether the city of about 3,400 needed another liquor store. The city’s code allows up to five liquor licenses, and two had been issued when Linn applied.
Attorneys for Linn argued that the application denial was arbitrary, based only on protecting Newport Liquor Store from competition and not for reasons related to the city’s welfare.
The court disagreed, saying cities have broad authority in deciding whether to issue liquor licenses. The court also ruled that the City Council had not violated Linn’s right to equal protection of the law in its liquor license denial.
Two businesses fined for pollution
Two Washington County businesses were among 51 companies in 36 counties fined for pollution regulation violations by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency during the first quarter of 2013.
Andersen Corp. of Bayport was fined $9,600 for air quality violations, and Hidden Harbor Marina of St. Paul Park was fined $1,895 for water quality violations.
Penalties from all 51 cases exceeded $190,000. Twenty percent of these cases were for various air-quality violations that totaled just over $51,000.
New initiatives in honor of Earth Day
Students at Cottage Grove Middle School can receive a gift card to a local business if they recycle.
Recycle bins have been set up throughout the school, and when the police resource officer at the school sees a student recycle, the student can be rewarded with a gift card.
Also in honor of Earth Day, the City Council approved new Sustainable City Awards program at its April 17 meeting.
The program is designed to recognize those who promote innovative programs and sustainable practices and environmental leadership. Categories are listed at www.cottage-grove.org along with nomination forms.
The nominated project must be within the City of Cottage and have been started within the past three years. The nomination deadline is Feb. 1, 2014.