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Ellie's files suit against city

Owners of Ellie's on Main (Sharon Horne-Ellstrom and Brian Ellstrom) have filed a lawsuit against the city of Hudson because of recent restriction imposed on the business, including the restricted use of a deck built behind the business to allow for smoking after the recently imposed state smoking ban.

According to the complaint, the business has had a Class B liquor and beer license for Ellie's on Main, 417 Second St., since August 2007. In May 2009 when Wisconsin adopted its Clean Indoor Air act (which became effective July 5, 2010), Ellie's petitioned the city to amend the description of its licensed premises to include a deck that would be built to the rear (west side) of the building where customers could smoke.

On Sept. 8, 2009, the city council approved the request contingent upon completion of the project and issuance of an occupancy permit. The business spent about $40,000 to build and outfit the deck.

On June 9, a group of citizens and neighbors filed complaints that Ellie's on Main was "a disorderly house." The group complained about noise, problems with urine, vomit and beverage cups, fights and other things.

The council held a hearing, received evidence, deliberated in closed session and approved in open session a motion saying Ellie's is not "a disorderly house."

But on June 14, when it renewed Ellie's license, the council added these conditions: no alcohol may be served or consumed on the deck, a bouncer must be on the deck while customers use it, no live or recorded music may be played on the deck, and windows and doors must remain closed.

The complaint alleges that by prohibiting drinking on the deck, the council either revoked or failed to renew Ellie's license as it pertains to the deck. The suit says the council didn't have the legal authority to do that.

The suit alleges the conditions put Ellie's at an unfair competitive disadvantage and impose a "significant economic burden."