Whistle Stop seeks liquor license

Dagsboro Town Council somewhat grudgingly approved Whistle Stop Deli & Café owner Mike Oxbrough’s request for a certificate of compliance — the precursor to Oxbrough’s actual liquor license application — at the council’s Jan. 24 meeting.

Council Member Patti Adams opposed, although the town’s certificate of compliance is supposed to be little more than a checklist (did Oxbrough have a business license, did he meet his parking requirements, etc.).

“As a teacher, I’ve seen the problems that come with alcohol abuse, and children who were hurt by alcohol abuse,” Adams said. “I don’t want to portray myself as a Carrie Nation [the famous historical temperance advocate], but I will never be able to approve anyone to sell alcohol in this town.

“I’ve lived here for 60 years and there’s never been any alcohol served — and we don’t seem to be any the worse for it,” Adams concluded.

Flowers joined her in opposition. Residents would still have the opportunity to petition for a public hearing at the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (ABCC), Flowers explained, but she said she felt town residents should have a vote on such matters ahead of the ABCC.

Council Members Andy Engh and Kurt Czapp voted to approve the certificate of compliance, and Mayor Wayne Baker cast the tiebreaker in Oxbrough’s favor.

In other Whistle Stop business, Police Commissioner Herb Disharoon said he’d spoken with Police Chief William Dudley, and they’d reached agreement that card games should be disallowed at the restaurant.

In other police business, Disharoon said he’d also asked Dudley to institute a new system of record-keeping, including a daily activities log, and to start work on a formal policies manual.

Disharoon and Council Member Andy Engh debated the placement of additional speed limit signs on Sussex Street, with Engh suggesting the commissioner might have exceeded his authority in placing those signs. Disharoon countered that there was no question regarding abuse of power, because he’d placed the signs long before he’d become police commissioner.

Council also debated a possible future use for the garage adjoining Town Hall: the possible relocation of the town’s police department. Baker reported that he had applied for and received a $10,000 grant from the county for that purpose.

Dudley later confirmed that he and Cpl. Larry Harris would have far more elbow room in the garage. By his estimate, the existing police department comprises less than 150 square feet. And Baker said that room in town hall was sorely needed for other uses, especially as staff is increasingly inundated with blueprints and site plans.

But Engh suggested building code and other requirements might make the project more expensive than Baker anticipated. Even if $10,000 was enough, he remained skeptical. “Is it worth putting that much money into a building when, in a few years, it will probably be obsolete anyway?” he asked.

Engh recommended council focus on a new town hall, rather than interim measures, but Baker said he didn’t think the town could properly conduct business, even over the next five years, if confined to its existing quarters.

In the end, council deferred on the matter, waiting to hear back from planner Kyle Gulbronson of URS (on retainer with the town). Gulbronson had suggested they might be able to use the $10,000 as leverage against additional matching grants and told council members he’d look into it.