New hearing for controversial Silt liquor license application; decision expected within 30 days |

New hearing for controversial Silt liquor license application; decision expected within 30 days

Pete Fowlerpfowler@postindependent.comGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

SILT, Colorado A new hearing was held for a liquor license application in Silt Tuesday night after a judge found the town board was unfair to the applicant in a previous hearing.Silt appointed Jerry Viscardi to be an impartial hearing officer. He should issue a decision within 30 days, said Silt town attorney Gene Duran. Viscardi is town attorney for Meeker.Duran said the town board may vote on whether to accept Viscardis decision, but he added, At this point theyve essentially deferred the decision to the hearing officer.In a Sept. 29 order, a district court judge said the Silt Board of Trustees violated two state laws, was confused, and treated Leann Posey unfairly when it denied her liquor license application in a November 2007 hearing. The judge reversed the town boards denial of the application and ordered a new hearing.The judge said the town board violated one law requiring it to allow the liquor license applicant to cross-examine witnesses and another law saying the town board must issue written explanations of liquor license application denials within 30 days. One trustee arrived at the meeting late, after people spoke against the application, but he voted to deny the application anyway, the judges order states.The trustee said the town hadnt grown enough to justify a third liquor store and he was worried about the financing.Attorney Charles Willman filed a civil complaint on behalf of Posey challenging the town boards denial of the liquor license application. The complaint contends that former town administrator Rick Aluise, who owns Silt Discount Liquor, influenced the town boards decision by contacting trustees outside the public meeting. The complaint alleges that the town board violated open meetings laws.Aluise said previously that he only spoke in opposition to the concentration of liquor stores in Silt in a letter to the board and in person at the hearing. He said if the license were approved, Silt would have one liquor store per 800 people, a far higher amount than neighboring communities.Posey applied for the liquor license for a business called B&L Liquor Depot.Contact Pete Fowler:

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