Town Approves Plan that May Permit Limited Alcohol Sales at Ball Park

Tom Kelenic of 5 Diamonds in WaukeshaHamm loses his local crusade against beer at the ballpark

As a city resident I don’t make my way out to the Town Board meetings very often.  Last night the atmosphere at the meeting was relaxing and very professional compared to meetings I’ve attended under the previous administration.

Several items were on the agenda, but one item concerning the possible sale of fermented malt beverages at the Infinity Fields Ball Park sparked opposition and some media attention.

Tom Kelenic of 5 Diamonds Inc. was before the Town board seeking an amended plan of operation that included, among other things, an approval to sell fermented malt beverages. Last summer the town re-zoned the ballpark “Park,” a zoning recommendation that needed land use approval by the county. In February Kelenic went before the county board for approval. County board members want Kelenic to have a plan approved at the township level because the current “conditional use” permit will become void under the new zoning.

At the onset of the amended plan issue, town planner Jamie Rybarczyk noted from documents that an attorney from the county board wanted clarification for things such as the number of employees working at the ball park, limits on operation hours, and any possible alcohol use within the ball park.

 

Public Comments on 5 Diamonds’ Proposed Plan.

One opponent of an amended plan was town resident Sandy Hamm who lives adjacent to the park on Milky Way Rd. Hamm spearheaded a campaign against the proposed use of alcohol at the park, and is one of a small group of town pessimists who have resisted the ballpark development from the beginning. Hamm’s history with 5 Diamonds is replete with opposition to the ball park, including complaints about the lights and noise from balls hitting bats.

Town resident Kathleen Cummings, who is also a Waukesha Alderwoman and County Supervisor, voiced her concern of drunken driving statistics in Waukesha County in the past year. Cummings advised the board that, “We lead by example and not have alcohol at our youth complex.”

 

Discussions

After the public comments Town Supervisors and Plan Commission members thoroughly discussed several issues with Kelenic, including clarity on the term “maintenance” and when those duties could be performed.

They also addressed when and how alcohol would be served, and the fact that WIAA rules which prohibit alcohol at youth baseball games. Kelenic advised members that alcohol would be served from a specific window where food and other items are not sold. Further, Kelenic stated it would only be served when WIAA policies did not apply – mainly during weekend games.

Another issue included possible “tailgating” in the parking lot if alcohol is permitted. Kelenic made it clear that tailgating of any sort is prohibited, and alcohol consumption certainly would not be permitted in the parking lot. Staff currently patrol the parking lot area every 45 minutes to enforce the “no tailgating” policy. Kelenic explained that on a couple of occasions they had to tell individuals in the parking lot to put out barbeque grills.

 

Approval of Plan

Despite opposition the town approved the proposed the plan of operation in a 3-2 vote.

However, this does not mean alcohol can be served at the ball park. Kelenic still needs approval from the county. Even then, 5 Diamonds would have to obtain necessary liquor licensing and permits before alcohol becomes available at the ball park.

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