Council awards soon-to-be available liquor license


Milwaukee Burger, a new business coming to the area, was awarded the liquor license that will become available at the end of the month with the closing of Shanghai Bistro.

Milwaukee Burger will move into the bistro's former building on Gateway Boulevard pending approval of the license. This license is the first available since the city awarded its last in July 2017.

Mayor Rich O'Connor said he was concerned about approving the liquor license for Milwaukee Burger when other businesses did not have the opportunity to apply for the license. When the city approved its last available license, four businesses had applied for it.

The number of liquor licenses the city has to distribute is regulated by population, according to state statute.

The city has looked into other options, including buying additional licenses from adjacent municipalities. These municipalities can set a price that would then be paid by the applicant to the city of Hudson, who would in turn transfer the money to the selling municipality.

O'Connor said town of Troy was willing to sell one license for $50,000 and town of Hudson for $100,000. He said the city currently charges $10,000 for licenses. None of the applicants were willing to pay the additional cost, O'Connor said.

Matt Letnes of Milwaukee Burger said the restaurant would not move forward without a license. The brand has five other restaurants in Wisconsin, and Letnes said economically the business would not work without the liquor license.

Council Member Randy Morrissette said he supported approving the license for Milwaukee Burger.

"I don't like having empty buildings," Morrissette siad. "I'd like to fill this one."

Council Member Jim Webber agreed, saying he would like to add to the business base in Hudson.

O'Connor said he'd like the city to look at its policy on awarding licenses that become available, now that it doesn't have any to spare.

Council Member Joyce Hall said she agreed the policy needed to be looked at, but not when an applicant is already in the process.

The council approved the license unanimously.

Morrissette said he would like to see city representatives continue to work with the state to find a solution.

"We're growing, we're growing exponentially," Morrissette said.

In other business, the council approved final development plans for offices for Hudson-based company Ciranda at 708 Second St.

The Plan Commission had previously raised concerns about parking, but Community Development Director Mike Johnson said the commission has since approved recommendation of the plan with conditions.

Neighboring business owner Mike Lesher said he was concerned about a retaining wall between the two properties, and asked that it be monitored during the construction process.

Approval was made with conditions from Plan Commission and Lesher.