The Craig City Council stopped just short Tuesday night of altering its recently adopted liquor ordinance when the owner of a business seeking a new liquor license failed to attend the hearing that decided the fate of that license.
Instead, Qi-Lin Wu, the new owner of Ocean Pearl Chinese restaurant, sent his general manager, whose understanding of the English language and the state's liquor laws, was difficult to gauge.
"Is it clearly understood what the laws are?" Councilor Bill Johnston asked. "I feel a little uncomfortable at this point. I just want to get a warm fuzzy feeling that they understand they liquor laws."
Last month the council passed an ordinance requiring a liquor license holder attend the council meeting at which a violation of the liquor laws that occurred in their place of business is being discussed.
The ordinance does provide for the liquor license holder to send a representative instead of personally appearing.
That allowance prevented Tuesday night's public hearing from leading to an ordinance change.
It was pointed out that in the cases of corporate ownership, it may be impossible for the actual liquor license holder to attend a council meeting.
Wu's request for a liquor license was submitted by a Glenwood Springs attorney, "which is quite often they way this is handled," City Clerk Shirley Seeley said.
Seeley said she recommended Wu attend the meeting in case there were any questions, but did not tell him he was required to.
Council members were divided on the issue with some wanting the license applicant to attend and others finding a proxy acceptable.
"The owner already sent the paperwork in and the police department's already done a background check, so what's left?" Councilor Don Jones asked.
City Manager Jim Ferree said the city generally sends a new license holder a copy of state and local regulations and saw no problem doing that in this case.
Council members agreed an ordinance change was called for but, in cases where the license holder is available, said they would prefer that person attend.
"I think the owner should be here," Councilor Joe Herod said.
The council voted unanimously to issue Wu a hotel and restaurant liquor license.
Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, Ext. 210 or by e-mail at email@example.com.