A liquor license violation complaint, a liquor store’s request for a drive-through window, and the possibility of instituting a liquor license late-night permit are on the agenda for the St. Charles Liquor Control Commission’s second meeting.
The first item relates to an incident in August when a couple left The Filling Station, 300 W. Main St., with drinks in hand, only to encounter a St. Charles police officer.
It will be the first such complaint the new panel has considered, and the timing of the proceedings is in question — in the past, the mayor, who is by law the city’s liquor commissioner — would sit down with the potential offender and discuss innocence and guilt and corresponding penalties.
The commission, however, now has a hand in the proceedings — it is an advisory panel whose members are expected to make a recommendation to Mayor Raymond Rogina about resolving the complaint, which could include a fine, a suspension or even the revocation of the liquor license, although the latter option typically is reserved for after a series of offenses.
The proposal to institute a late-night permit to allow liquor license holders to remain open until 2 a.m. is modeled after a procedure in place in Naperville.
The City Council has made it clear that it wants some additional leverage over bars and restaurants, largely due to the perception there have been too many alcohol-related problems in the downtown area late at night and in the early morning.
To be fair, the number of alcohol-fueled problems — such as fights, public urination and public drunkenness — have eased up since August 2012, when a spike in such incidents, especially street brawls, brought City Council threats to cut back bar hours from 2 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Tavern and restaurant officers came together to form an association to help police themselves and set standards for training staffs not to over-serve alcohol to patrons — and to institute a “banned list” in which troublemakers can be permanently banned from all downtown establishments.
Still, the St. Charles Tavern Association could not force all downtown establishments to join, and police reports have mentioned that one member establishment has ignored the banned list from time to time.
Police Chief Jim Lamkin has been generally positive about the association’s efforts over the past year. Still, last month, almost exactly a year from the weekend that sparked council umbrage about the over-service of alcohol downtown, there was another sharp uptick in the number of alcohol-related incidents, including the one involving The Filling Station.
Finally, the commission will be asked to make a recommendation on a request by Lundeen’s Liquors, 1315 W. Main St., to offer drive-through service.
The request is interesting because the city’s liquor code at this time prohibits curb and drive-through service in St. Charles.
It seems that if the commission recommends approval of the request, it would require a change to the liquor code, as well as possible changes to the city’s zoning ordinance, which apparently does not allow for drive-through liquor sales..
Aug. 21, 2013: Will Filling Station Face Complaint Over Booze Incident?