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New Bar Owners Blocked Again by Building Code Violations

The Common Council will have a final vote Dec. 18 meeting considering whether to approve the liquor license for Deville's Lounge, which is proposed to fill the Foxy's vacancy. But the police chief is not in favor of approval.

A building inspection of the former Foxy's location revealed a number of code violations that add more snags to the already challenging process facing new owners who hope to open a bar there.

The Port Washington Director of Building Inspection and Zoning Gary Peterson sent a letter to business owner Troy Koput explaining the 25 code violations he found in the building. The issues include:

  • missing electrical junction box covers;
  • extension cords being used incorrectly where permanent wiring should instead be;
  • inoperable cooking equipment;
  • a loose sink, crushed ductwork and missing drywall in the bathroom;
  • and cracked windows, among other issues.

The violations mean a Change of Occupancy permit is denied unless the business owners take the time to correct each issue.

Police chief recommends denial

Beyond those troubles, Port Washington City Administrator Mark Grams and Police Chief Kevin Hingiss both recommend that the city deny the retail alcohol beverage license needed by Koput, of West Bend, and manager Christian Zaja, of Port Washington to open Deville's Lounge. Zaja previously worked at Foxy's.

Hingiss cited incidents in Zaja's background — including an OWI offense in 2006 and an after-hours incident in April another bar, The Spot — as well as a long list of calls to Foxy's over its years of operation in his report recommending the denial of a liquor license. 

  • Related: New Start at Former Foxy’s Location Encounters Snags

Hingiss also said in general he thinks a more specific system for granting licenses needs to be set in place to better curb such problems at local bars.

"Looking to the future, I would like to see more restrictions on licensed premises," he said in his report.

Hingiss detailed suggestions he said would help the police mitigate or eliminate many issues/concerns associated with licensed premises, plus assist the PWPD in investigating and resolving law enforcement issues including "disorderly conduct/battery to public urination and underage drinking."

  • Related: Problems With Former Foxy's Location Revival Sparks Talk of Changes to System

The Common Council will have a final vote Dec. 18 considering whether to approve that license for the business; the issue will be discussed in closed session according to Wisconsin law, unless Koput requests an open session hearing before the meeting.

Even if the council decides to approve the liquor license, the code violations will need to be fixed so that an occupancy permit can be approved before a license is granted, Grams said.

jon dough December 09, 2012 at 07:55 AM
Exactly concerned citizen is just upset because she is EXACTLY the first change Devilles is going to make. The zero tolerance policy that is being put in place meant she was the first person discussed on not being allowed into the bar due to all the problems this person creates. If you're such an innocent hard working mom, why does your name come up so often as a problem causer in bars? Apparently you lie so much you're even believing it
John Burroughs December 11, 2012 at 12:31 AM
Going back to the man who is against video pokers. If you look at the tavern league booklet, it states that if you have a class b liquor license, you are allowed 5 of these games in your establishment. I think this establishment should be able to get a license and we will all be able to share in its success. These guys have been working very hard everynight as I have witnessed it when I drive by. Good Luck
Kathy December 11, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Kudos to Zaja for calling a spade a spade here! BRAVO! As silly as it may sound, I've often said that if I was offered a million bucks to open open a business but it had to be in Port, I'd decline. There is some savvy with influence to be found and even some good in Port, too often that good is trumped by others agendas. I've lived and worked in other parts of the state as well as the country and always involved with the community. I have never seen such "Hatfileds & McCoys" type mindsets between local businesses to business as well as city leadership that exists in this city! The winds of change are a blow'in, Port has so much to offer and could be a fabulous destination not only for tourists but for it's own people AND be more of a {welcoming} draw for LOCAL small businesses!
Terry December 11, 2012 at 09:07 PM
Noooo. John, that is not what it says. It says the state can't enforce it. It does say local municipalities can pass an ordinance, which I believe Port has. So why are our local cops not enforcing our local ordinance prohibiting them.
Lyssa Beyer December 13, 2012 at 08:56 PM
The fate of Deville's Lounge will be discussed in a public session on Tuesday http://patch.com/A-0sL1

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