After lengthy hearings on Oct. 2, the Delta City Council granted 3.2 off premises beer licenses to the two Alta convenience stores in Delta and held off on a final decision on a third application from Stinker's.
Separate hearings were held for the Alta stores at 1430 Highway 50 and 1520 Howard Street. Dennis Dirkse, vice president of operations, discussed employee training and outlined how in-store compliance checks are conducted by "secret shoppers" to ensure employees are verifying ages for purchasers of both alcohol and tobacco.
To demonstrate the neighborhood's "needs and desires" for an additional 3.2 beer outlet, Alta contracted with Oedipus, Inc., to survey adult inhabitants in the area. Oedipus CEO Max Scott explained the methodology for conducting the survey and then distributed detailed reports for both stores. In both cases, support for the application was overwhelming.
Council members unanimously approved both licenses, taking note of the comprehensive applications.
Council then heard from Stinker's, which shares a building with Wendy's at 101 Main Street. Council members asked if Wendy's management and employees had been included in the "needs and desires" survey. That answer was not clear. In response to concerns about controls, general manager Jerry Nichols said the beer would be located in a cooler directly in the cashier's line of sight.
Stinker's opinion survey was conducted internally with vastly different results than Alta's.
City clerk Jolene Nelson said it's up to applicants to determine how they want to provide evidence for the needs and desires requirements of the state statute, whether that's through a petition or testimony or a combination of both. In the case of Stinker's, Nelson said she provided a sample of a petition form that they modified for their own use.
The completed petitions were turned in to Nelson who tallied the results: 142 against, 123 in favor.
Council members expressed concern over those numbers, as well as the lack of information on the petitions. Some signatures were illegible, others did not fill in the blanks for ages and addresses. It was not clear how many of the surrounding residences had been contacted.
Based on the lack of support, a motion was made and seconded to deny the 3.2 beer liquor license application. That motion was withdrawn after council members expressed a desire to give the business "the benefit of the doubt." They agreed to give Stinker's a chance to make a more compelling argument, and invited representatives to return to the Nov. 6 council meeting.