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Final Action Postponed on Liquor Code Revisions

The St. Charles City Council won’t formally vote until Jan. 21 on the changes, which would require bars and restaurants to close by midnight unless they obtain a late-night permit.

Final Action Postponed on Liquor Code Revisions

A formal St. Charles City Council vote has been delayed on proposed changes to the city’s liquor code, which would require all bars to close at midnight unless they obtain a late-night permit, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Aldermen meeting as the City Council Government Operations Committee last month gave their unanimous recommendation for formal City Council approval of the revisions, St. Charles Patch reported in mid-December.

That action set the stage for a Monday night vote on the ordinance, but the Tribune reports the postponement was needed because there was an error in the wording of the revisions. The proposal cannot be brought back before the council until it has been reviewed by Mayor Raymond Rogina, who is the city’s liquor commissioner. the Tribune reports.

  • Read more details about the postponed vote in the  Tribune story.

City Council members hope the liquor code changes will rein in periodic problems in the downtown with brawling, public drunkenness, and public urination on buildings. The issue came to a head in August 2011, when then-Mayor Donald DeWitte proposed that all bars in town be forced to close earlier to curb the problems.

Downtown bar and restaurant owners galvanized after that proposal, forming the St. Charles Tavern Association to take steps at self-regulation and to set standards related to the over-serving of alcohol, which was an issue city officials raised as a cause of the problems.

The council, however, remained dissatisfied despite advances made by the association, and revisions to the liquor code became one of several issues in the spring 2012 municipal election. Rogina began to pursue those changes after winning the mayoral race. The first of those changes was the establishment of an advisory St. Charles Liquor Control Commission, whose members worked with Rogina over the summer and fall to formulate the proposal that aldermen voted on last month.

During the series of meetings to discuss the revisions, members of the St. Charles Tavern Association remained silent on the issue.

Generally, the changes would require Class B and C license holders to close at midnight, except on New Year’s Eve/Day, unless they have obtained a late-night permit to stay open until 1 a.m. or until 2 a.m. The ordinance would allow bars and restaurants to serve alcohol until 2 a.m. on New Year’s Day.

The proposal would decrease the liquor license renewal fees for Class  B1, B2, B3, C1, C2 and C3 licenses, which would have a midnight closing time. A 1 a.m. permit would cost owners an additional $800 a year, while the 2 a.m. permit would cost $2,300 annually.

The combined cost of a liquor license and late-night permit would be significantly higher than the 2013 cost of renewing a liquor license, which allows a 2 a.m. closing time.

Mayor Rogina said in December that the net effect of the revisions is that a bar owner could renew his liquor license and get a 1 a.m. permit in 2014 and save $600 from the amount paid in 2013. But based on the fee, a 2 a.m. permit would cost the same bar owner $900 more than in 2013.


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