City Council Delays Decision on Liquor License for the LaMar, Inc./dba The LaMar

Municipal Offices in Lamar

Lamar’s City Council met for a regularly-scheduled meeting on February 12, 2024.  All current Council members were present (a replacement for Councilman Mike Bellomy has not been finalized.)  After the meeting was called to order by Mayor Kirk Crespin, Council heard reports from the City Treasurer, City Clerk and City Administrator.  Treasurer Kristin Schwartz told Council that the City is in the process of taking and reviewing bids to update the software system and that a vendor should be decided upon within a month.  Clerk Linda Williams presented the Sales and Use Tax Report for January of 2024.  Administrator Rob Evans announced that Coffee with Rob will be held February 21 and 28, both at 7 a.m. at Dunkin/TA.  City offices will be closed Monday, February 19 for Presidents Day.

Next on the agenda was a public hearing for a new Lodging and Entertainment Liquor License for LaMar, Inc. (formerly the Lamar Theatre).  Council heard from two citizens in opposition to the license being granted, both expressing concerns about the possibility of underage drinking and fears that the business will no longer be family-friendly.  One citizen spoke in support of the license, stating that she felt Lamar needed something new.  Representing the LaMar was Jeremy Carter of Lamar, who presented himself as a 40% shareholder in the business, which he said is solely owned by Monica Sutphin, whose name is on the license application.  He told Council of the business’s plan, which is envisioned as more of a “performance venue” than movie theatre, remarking that “cinema is a losing battle” and that to stay afloat financially, they need the liquor license to bring in revenue. Without it, he said, the building would likely have to be put up for sale.  Plans are to have the building be used for concerts, weddings, comedy shows, etc. and that it would be open 7 days a week, with movies being shown one day per week.  When questioned by Council about how the business plans to monitor patrons consuming alcohol, he mentioned possibly using wrist bands as well as having all employees become TIPS-certified, which is the official Colorado alcohol seller-server training program.  Council told Carter they would need to see certificates of this for all employees and Carter said he would do so.   They questioned the need for 3 bars in the building (2 on the main floor and 1 in the balcony) and were told it was for traffic flow and safety reasons.   Most Council members asked Carter for more information, including asking to see a written business plan before they could make a decision, as everything so far has been purely verbal.  Part of their discussion was whether the business was in line with asking for a Lodging and Entertainment license or whether a tavern license would be the proper one and that they wanted to be sure the business was not merely operating as a bar.  Councilwoman Gerry Jenkins told Carter that she would like to have at least one movie showing time be “alcohol free” so people would feel more comfortable bringing their children and grandchildren, but Mr. Carter again mentioned the need for liquor sales for financial reasons.  Of concern to Council also was what role in the business Mr. Carter plays, since the license application lists Monica Sutphin as the sole owner.  He explained that he is merely a shareholder and a consultant, having owned several establishments with liquor licenses in the past.  He said he could provide a certificate of shares owned and assured them that he has not invested any actual money into the business.  Council decided to table the decision until the next regular Council meeting on February 26, to give the City Clerk time to determine the exact license necessary and to verify that Mr. Carter does not have financial ownership in the business, as well as allowing LaMar, Inc. time to prepare and present them with a written business plan.

Council heard from Ron Cook regarding the upcoming 28th Annual Rod Run to be held May 17 and 18 in Willow Creek Park.  He wanted to thank the city as well as Lamar Police and Fire Departments for all their help and support and Council all agreed that it was one of the year’s biggest and best events and highly popular.  Proceeds from the event go to the Fire Department for the fireworks fund.  Council approved the use of the park for overnight parking the night of May 17 for vendors.

In other news, Gary Oxley was re-appointed to the Library Advisory Board, and Council voted to accept the Airport Board’s recommendation for engineering services which the FAA requires to be done every 5 years as part of the Airport Entitlement Program.  They also voted to accept Brannan Aggregate’s bid for road base materials and authorized staff to apply for the CPW “Fishing is Fun” grant that would go towards a new dock, fish cleaning stations and possibly a bridge at the ponds at North Gateway Park.  Annexation of 3103 Memorial Drive was approved, as well as permission to apply for the Robert Hoag Rawlings Foundation Grant for Recreation, which would cover recreation supplies, equipment, clinics and for the department to be able to waive participation fees.   They also accepted a donation of Tract #1 and Tract #2 of Village Green Park to the City from Chris Currell.  The city feels that accepting the property is in the best interest of the city to help protect the water main that runs through the center of the property.   Police Chief Kyle Miller updated Council on the proposed traffic study for the city, mentioning that one has not been done for approximately 20 years.  Such a study will determine if current stop signs and lights are necessary and/or functioning in the safest way as well as studying intersections and traffic flow patterns to determine if additional traffic control devices are needed.  Council agreed the study was needed and will try to include it in the city’s budget for next year.

Council then adjourned and went into Executive Session.  The next regularly-scheduled meeting is February 26, at 7:00 PM.

By Barbara Crimond

Filed Under: Consumer IssuesEconomyEntertainmentFeaturedHot TopicsPublic Safety


About the Author: