Steamboat Springs City Council approves controversial liquor license in resort area
November 19, 2013
Steamboat Springs — In one of the most contentious liquor license hearings in this city’s history, the Steamboat Springs City Council on Tuesday night cleared the way for a new liquor store and deli to open across the street from Market on the Mountain.
Citizens Hall felt like a courtroom during the 1 1/2-hour hearing as a lawyer representing the landlords for Market on the Mountain said the city should deny the liquor application because the market already was serving the liquor needs in Steamboat’s resort area.
David Sypert, the manager of what will be SBS Village Liquor, countered that his store will be different as it will feature a climate-controlled wine cellar and weekly wine tastings during the winter.
Sypert said the store, with 6,000 square feet of space in the Highmark Building on Village Drive, also will support 10 year-round jobs, 20 to 25 seasonal jobs and generate an estimated $200,000 per year in local, state and county sales taxes.
But not everyone was on board with the new store in the neighborhood.
A petition against it was signed by more than 90 residents.
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The council also received six letters, all with the same wording, from people who opposed the new liquor store.
The community members who penned the letters said they were concerned "about the over saturation of alcohol in our community and the close proximity of the applicant’s store to already existing establishments."
After more than 90 minutes of tedious debate, some cross-examination of witnesses and many objections from the people who were against the new business, the council voted, 5-1, to approve the license.
"I don’t think it’s our role to say this business succeeds and this one doesn’t," council member Scott Ford said before he supported the application. "I don’t want to be picking winners and losers."
Other council members said the competition could be healthy.
Kenny Reisman was the only council member to vote against the application, saying there wasn’t an identified need for a new liquor store in the area.
Bart Kounovsky stepped down before the debate because of a potential conflict of interest.
The city’s rules for liquor licenses require the applicant to prove there is a need for a new liquor store.
Sypert submitted 49 valid signatures from people who were in support of the store.
SBS Liquors will be the third liquor store near the base of Steamboat Ski Area, joining Market on the Mountain and Ski Town Wine and Spirits near The Steamboat Grand.
Before the liquor license is finalized, approval must be given by the Steamboat Springs Police Department, the fire marshal and the city clerk.