The Lincoln City Council wants strict rules for ax-throwing businesses, limiting customers who are going to throw axes to two beers.
In considering two applications for beer-only liquor licenses, the council Monday recommended the stricter rules — including no weapon throwing after midnight, no alcohol in the throwing lanes, no visibly intoxicated customer allowed to posses an ax and the two-beer limit.
The council recommendation with the outlined rules for Craft Axe Throwing, 1821 N St., goes to the state Liquor Control Commission for a final decision.
But the council deadlocked on whether to recommend a liquor license for the other business, Tomahawks, 815 O St., because two of the business owners had multiple convictions that they did not report on the liquor license application.
The seven-member council, with two members absent, could not get the required four votes to either recommend denial or approval of the Tomahawks license with the special conditions. The council will vote again on the Tomahawks recommendation at next Monday’s meeting.
Those special conditions included no liquor law violations by the manager, the owners, or the business itself for one year, as well as the two-beer rule.
“Ax throwing is the next big thing," said Travis Cornelius, an owner of Craft Axe Throwing.
The company has two ax-throwing businesses already opened, in Greenville, South Carolina, and Springfield, Missouri, and is opening one in Omaha and another in Columbia, South Carolina, he told the council.
What the business has learned from these operations is that “people love it," Cornelius told the council. "People seem to have a blast when they come to our facilities."
The rule banning ax throwing after midnight is intended to prevent the business from becoming the last stop of a night of drinking, said Tanya Peters, legal adviser to Lincoln police.
Cornelius said the company would rather not have the two-beer limit for customers throwing axes, but would live with it.
Customers can drink more if they are spectators or after they finish their ax-throwing session, which lasts an hour, under the proposed rules.
Shane Kearns, one of the owners of Tomahawks, told the council the staff will have small breathalyzers in use that will send results to a cellphone, and the business will not let intoxicated people throw axes.
Two of three owners of Tomahawks did not report all their criminal convictions on the state liquor license application, which troubled council members.
Shad Kearns, the Tomahawks president who will manage the operation, did not report eight violations, including several speeding tickets, no valid registration and possessing an open alcohol container in a vehicle.
Shane Kearns did not report six convictions, including several speeding tickets and several open alcohol container violations, based on the police report to the council.
“This is nothing personal," Councilman Roy Christensen said to Shane Kearns. “But it sure looks to me like there is an issue there that needs to be resolved, and the correct place for the resolution is at the Liquor Control Commission."
Applicants who don’t report all criminal convictions generally have an automatic hearing before state regulators.
A recommendation to approve Tomahawks, even with strict conditions, indicates the city council approves of granting the license, “and I do not,” Christensen said.
Christensen and Jane Raybould voted to recommend denial of the liquor license for Tomahawks. Council members Cyndi Lamm, Bennie Shobe and Carl Eskridge voted to recommend approval with the special conditions.