Bar, volleyball proposal scores point

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009
— A proposal for a bar that would serve up volleyball with its beer got an unanimous OK on Tuesday from Janesville's alcohol licensing committee.

Matt DeWitt and Kim Brown want to open Sneakers Sports Pub in the former Basics Co-op on Woodman Road off Milton Avenue. DeWitt also owns Snuffy's Still outside of Milton.

The bar would be 3,000 square feet and offer food, including homemade pizza.

The plan commission previously gave the concept the OK, although members attached a condition to its recommendation to the council that outdoor volleyball games end by 9 p.m. and that lighting not be allowed.

The proposal will go before the council on Monday, Oct. 12.

Residents told members of the plan commission and then the Alcohol License Advisory Committee on Tuesday that they were worried about disruptions from the possible noise and drunken patrons. City staff warned that volleyball courts attached to bars is a new and untested concept in Janesville, although it is common elsewhere.

Carol Engebretson, committee chairwoman, said alcohol licensing committee members noted that the property is properly zoned, that DeWitt went through the conditional-use process and that the property is properly screened from neighbors.

One neighbor told members that DeWitt, 46, was found guilty of hit and run and possession of marijuana in 1998 and of operating a vehicle while intoxicated in 2005, Engebretson said.

Engebretson said committee members talked to DeWitt about his past actions, and Dewitt said he had made some mistakes but now knows better. He said he runs a clean establishment at Snuffy's.

"We did bring that up with him, and that concerns me," Engebretson said. "(Deputy Chief) Steve Kopp made it very clear that if any neighbors had any concerns about noise or anything that needs to be addressed, to be sure to contact the police department."

DeWitt replaced himself with his wife as the alcohol agent for the establishment.

Engebretson said she agreed with a neighbor who said there is a better use for the property.

"However, I don't think that this type of an establishment is going to be a problem that close to residential areas," she said.

Last updated: 11:47 am Thursday, December 13, 2012

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