Weather Forecast


Council withholds renewal of Golf Club liquor license

The City Council approved the renewal of liquor licenses for Hudson businesses with one notable exception Monday night.

The Hudson Golf Club was removed from the list of 39 license applications submitted for approval after Council President Rich Vanselow questioned whether the club has been compliance with an ordinance requiring continuous operation by businesses that hold liquor licenses.

Chapter 145, Section 12F, of the Municipal Code says that "timely start-up and continuation of business is an ongoing condition of an alcohol beverage license."

The City Council may cancel, revoke or not renew a license if "the business for which the license was issued is discontinued or not open for business for the purpose of the license for a period of 90 consecutive days or more," the ordinance states.

It adds that being open intermittently for periods of two days or less during the 90-day period isn't sufficient to avoid cancellation of the license.

Vanselow said he frequently drives by the golf course clubhouse on Carmichael Road and that it appeared to him that the clubhouse was closed from November to April, with the exception of an occasional banquet.

He said the city can't ignore the continuous operation requirement in the Golf Club's case without setting a precedent for other businesses to skirt the ordinance.

Vanselow was a member of the Golf Club's board of directors before the Chris Hanson family purchased it in April of 2010.

City Attorney Catherine Munkittrick said the city needs to investigate whether the Golf Club in fact did violate the ordinance. If there is evidence that it wasn't in operation for a 90-day period, the council could start a non-renewal proceeding, she said.

The Municipal Code says the city "shall notify the licensee in writing of the city's intent to cancel, revoke or not renew the license for noncompliance" with Chapter 145-12F "and provide the licensee with an opportunity for a hearing."

District 2 Alderperson Mary Yacoub voted against renewal of the liquor licenses in protest of the Hudson Golf Club being removed from the list.

She said there are events scheduled for the Golf Club and asked what would happen if the club lost its liquor license. She wanted to know if the group hosting an event would be able to serve liquor.

"We'd have to look at the situation. It (the Golf Club) wouldn't be licensed," Munkittrick replied.

She noted that Hudson Golf Club's current license doesn't expire until July 1. The licenses approved by the council are for the period from July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2014.

"So I assume we will be hearing from the Hansons," District 5 Alderperson John Hoggatt said, referring to the family that owns and operates the golf course.

When contacted by phone at the Golf Club Tuesday morning, Doug Hanson, Chris' son, said the clubhouse has been open for events weekly or monthly throughout the off-season.

"It is funny that would come up after we have owned the Golf Club since April of 2010," Doug Hanson said when told about the action by the City Council the previous evening.

He said the clubhouse wasn't always open daily during the off-season before his family bought it either.

Hanson said the course opened for the season on Saturday, April 27, and shut down for four days after the snowstorm that started Wednesday, May 1. The course reopened on Sunday, May 5, he said.

The Hanson family announced in late 2011 that the 20,000-square-foot clubhouse built in 1999 is for sale.

In November 2012, the City Council approved a subdivision of the clubhouse property creating three lots -- one for the clubhouse and two potential building sites.

The Hansons have said they will operate the golf course out of the present golf cart storage building if the clubhouse is sold.

When the family bought the 18-hole, 141-acre golf course, they agreed not to develop the course itself for another use for a period of at least 10 years, according to Chris Hanson's attorney, Jeff Redmon.

The City Council reportedly can waive the obligation.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

(715) 426-1066